NEW YORK • Patrick Reed gave his Ryder Cup hopes a timely boost as he charged into a share of the first-round lead at The Barclays Championship on Thursday, with defending champion Jason Day in hot pursuit.
The American golfer opened with a sizzling five-under 66 in the first of the PGA Tour's four lucrative FedExCup play-off events, finishing level with Scotland's Martin Laird on a sunny but breezy day at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York.
World No. 1 Day, who won by six shots last year, returned a 68 while fellow golfing heavyweights Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy carded 71s.
"It was a clean day," Reed, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, told reporters after a bogey-free round that also included an eagle and three birdies, all of them coming on his homeward nine.
"I feel like I hit the ball pretty solid.
"All the shots I hit, even though (they) might not have been down some of the lines I wanted to, I was still in the fairway and still on the greens, so I was still able to attack."
Reed is scrambling for one of the last three automatic spots on the United States Ryder Cup team to take on holders Europe from Sept 30 to Oct 2.
US Open champion Dustin Johnson, Spieth, Phil Mickelson, PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker and Ryder rookie Brooks Koepka have already secured their berths, with the final three automatic selections to be decided after The Barclays.
British Open champion and Olympic silver medallist Henrik Stenson of Sweden withdrew from the tournament after shooting a 74, citing a knee injury.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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