Patrick Reed delivered key shots on three straight holes on the back nine at Liberty National — two for birdie, one for par — to overtake Jon Rahm, hold off Abraham Ancer, close with a 2-under 69 and win the FedEx Cup opener.
It was his first victory in 16 months over 41 tournaments worldwide dating to the 2018 Masters.
Points are quadrupled in the PGA Tour postseason, so the victory vaulted Reed from No. 50 to No. 2. His place in the Tour Championship is secure. His odds of the $15 million prize are greatly increased.
It still wasn’t enough for him to get in the top eight qualifiers for the Presidents Cup, to be decided after next week. Reed went to No. 12 and he would have to win the BMW Championship next week to qualify.
Even so, it was the kind of victory to at least get the attention of U.S. captain Tiger Woods.
Reed finished at 16-under 268 and won for the seventh time in his career on the PGA Tour.
Ancer felt like a winner when it was over. He also played bogey-free over the final 12 holes, and his birdie on the 17th gave him hope. But his approach to the 18th came down below a ridge, and his long birdie putt to force a playoff went some 6 feet by the cup. He made that to finish alone in second, his best PGA Tour finish.
That was enough to send him from No. 67 to No. 8, with more perks than he could count.
Ancer is a lock to make it to the Tour Championship in two weeks, meaning he earns his first spot in the Masters. He wrapped up a spot on the International Team for the Presidents Cup, making him the first Mexican in the event.
Rahm made a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 12 and reached the par-5 13th in two to set up another birdie, giving him a two-shot lead. And then it all fell apart for the Spaniard. He was on the wrong side of the green at the par-3 14th and three-putted for bogey from 50 feet. His tee shot narrowly found a bunker on the 15th, leaving him no shot at reaching the green, and he had to scramble for bogey from the thick grass behind the green.
Rahm never caught up, closed with a 69 and tied for third with Harold Varner III.
The top 70 in the FedEx Cup advance to the BMW Championship next week at Medinah.
Harold Varner might have had the biggest day in that regard. He started the PGA Tour postseason at No. 102, and while he came up two shot of his first PGA Tour victory, his tie for third moved him to No. 29. That not only gets him in the BMW Championship, he has a realistic shot at East Lake.