Patrick Reed figured he has been playing good enough golf recently.
He just wanted it to translate into better results.
That has been the case this week, as Reed shot a 4-under-par 67 to grab the lead after Saturday’s third round at The Northern Trust, the first stop on the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs.
“You just have a bit more sense of urgency,” he said of the playoffs. “For me, it’s just continue playing how I’ve been playing the past month, month and a half. I’ve been hitting the ball great.”
Reed holds a one-shot advantage on Mexico’s Abraham Ancer going into Sunday’s final round at Liberty National Golf Club in Paramus, New Jersey. Reed is at 14-under 199.
Ancer shot a 68 on Saturday, his highest round of the tournament.
“Just waiting for the right time, I guess,” Ancer said of his aspirations.
Brandt Snedeker made the big move of the round, notching a 63 and grabbing a share of third place with Spain’s Jon Rahm (69) at 12 under.
Even though Tiger Woods withdrew a day earlier, there could be plenty of excitement as the tournament winds down.
The upper part of the leaderboard includes Englishmen Danny Willett (66) and Justin Rose (69), along with Harold Varner III (68), at 11 under.
Reed, who began the round two shots off the top, didn’t have a bogey in the tournament until the par-4 15th. He posted a birdie two holes later.
He said he has been able to attack with his irons. His front-side birdies came on three of the four longest holes.
“Finally got to a golf course where the greens are fast, a lot of break in them, so I’m not having to sit there and look for the perfect read,” Reed said. “I can actually use my eyes and be creative and kind of feel putts. Because of that.”
Reed is aiming for his first tournament victory since the 2018 Masters.
Ancer moved into the lead with three consecutive birdies on Nos. 12-14. But his bogey on the 16th cost him the outright lead as Reed’s late birdie reconfigured the top spots.
Ancer birdied all three par-5s Saturday. He missed the cut in his previous two tournaments, so he hadn’t played a weekend round on the PGA Tour since mid-June at the Travelers Championship.
“Last year, I played really well in the playoffs, or at least in two of them, and that kind of gives me good vibes, knowing I’ve done it and I’ve played some good, solid golf,” Ancer said. “Focusing on sticking to my game plan, and we’ll see what happens.”
Rahm also recorded birdies on Nos. 12-14.
“I’m rolling it good, and the rest of the game feels good,” he said.
Snedeker sandwiched a bogey at No. 7 with eagles at Nos. 6 and 8, the two par-5s on the front nine. He added five birdies, shooting the lowest round of the day by three strokes.
Second-round leader Dustin Johnson fell to a 10th-place tie at 9 under after a 74, posting four bogeys in his final six holes.
Johnson is a two-time winner of playoff-opening tournaments, though at other venues.
Jordan Spieth had another troublesome start to the weekend, continuing a trend throughout the season. His 74 dropped him to 8 under and into a tie for 13th place.
A week earlier in the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., Spieth’s third-round 77 knocked from contention all the way out of the tournament as he missed the secondary cut.