Chez Reavie wrote chapter No. 2,932 in the “closing out an event on the PGA Tour is a lot harder than it seems” book on Sunday at the Travelers Championship when he nearly coughed up a six-stroke lead … despite playing 1-under golf for the day.
After blitzing the field over the first three rounds, Reavie regressed a bit over the first 15 holes and playing partner Keegan Bradley went wild with six birdies in his first 15 holes. But Reavie stayed the course — there’s not much else to do when you start with a six-stroke lead — and ended him with a three-stroke swing at the 17th.
Bradley hit his approach over the green and made double, and Reavie rolled in his first birdie since the fourth hole. The win caps a two-week heater in which he finished T3 at the U.S. Open, and then won here for his first PGA Tour victory since 2008.
“It means everything,” Reavie told CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis. “I had to stay patient today. Keegan was playing great. I kept missing putts, I felt like I was hitting good putts and just not going in. Finally, I made one on No. 17 and turned the corner.”
Reavie was playing his 278th event this week, and not only did he win more than 10 years ago, but that title came in his first full year on the PGA Tour. When you go that long after winning that early, it can shake the confidence that you’ll ever hold another trophy.
Reavie though, just like he did on Sunday, kept pressing and kept moving forward. He’s embroiled in the best season of his career at age 37 and got to call himself a champ on this tour on Sunday for the first time in over a decade. Like Sunday’s grind, it wasn’t always easy. But also like Sunday’s grind, hanging in has been worth it. Grade: A+
Here are the rest of our grades for the 2019 Travelers Championship.
Jason Day (T8): Much has been made of Day’s switch to Steve Williams (as in, Tiger Woods’ old caddie, Steve Williams) on his bag over the last few weeks. I don’t know what kind of boot camp Williams is or isn’t putting Day through, but I do know Day logged his first top 10 since going T8 at the Masters over two months ago. More amazing was how he did it. Day, who is one of the best putters on the planet, couldn’t crack the top 40 this week at this tournament. Instead, he finished in the top five in strokes gained from tee to green to close his final three rounds 63-68-69 for the top 10. Grade: A
Brooks Koepka (T57): Koepka continued a recent trend of shining in majors and, uh, not shining in non-majors. He shot three rounds over par this week at TPC River Highlands.
The four-time major champ says there’s an explanation for that, though. He described himself “fried” and “dead” after his third-round 72 and before shooting 71 on Sunday.
“I already committed to this one, so stick with my commitments,” he said of why he decided to play the week after contending in a major. “There is nothing you can do. I can’t judge how well I’m going to play the week before in a major, so it’s tough. When you’re planning your schedule, you’re not thinking you’re going to compete in all three majors and still be fried from it. It’s fine. I don’t mind it.”
He also noted that he’s both mentally and physically cooked from the last few months. His play this week proved it (which is definitely better than his play last week proving it!). Grade: C-
Jordan Spieth (MC): I’ve been hollering about this for multiple months now, but Spieth’s tee-to-green play has not been good of late. The results are (sort of) there with three top 10s in his last five tournaments, but it’s been smoke and mirrors and chip-ins and somebody who’s been putting out of his mind. Spieth at his best — every best player at their best — is a ball-striking machine. He lost over two strokes in his only two rounds at TPC River Highlands en route to a 73-69-MC.
“The results from the other week were strictly really putting,” admitted Spieth. “It was putting and chipping. I still hit the ball below average for the field those weeks, just made up for it. I just really need to improve on my ball striking.”
He came into this week 147th in tee-to-green play on the PGA Tour, losing .26 strokes per round. That number is going to look even worse after the stats from this week get entered in. Grade: D