Patrick Reed opens Humana title defense with 65

Patrick Reed’s title defense got off to a good start Thursday at the Humana Challenge.

Reed, playing for the first time since winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, fired a 7-under 65 at La Quinta Country Club and sits just two shots back of leader Michael Putnam.

He was part of a pairing that combined to shoot 14 under in the opening round – Matt Kuchar also shot 65 after bogeying the par-4 18th, his final hole of the day.

Unlike Kuchar, Reed avoided any blemishes on his card Thursday by going bogey-free with seven birdies. He made the turn at 4 under after a birdie at the par-4 ninth hole, then rattled off four more birdies, at Nos. 10-13.

“He plays some beautiful golf. He was just striping it,” Kuchar said of Reed. “Couple putts burned the edges. I mean, he really could have had a great day.

“I was just kind of scrambling and grinding and doing my best to keep up.”

However, it wasn’t perfect. Reed said he was “a tad off” on the greens and was especially disappointed with missing two eagle putts on the front nine, a 5-footer at the par-5 fifth and a 15-footer at the par-5 sixth.

“Unfortunately, I felt like I left a lot out there today,” Reed said. “I didn’t really make any putts on the front nine. … I left a lot of putts on the lip and just really didn’t feel like I putted very well but was able to get on a roll, hit a couple of close shots and hit enough close to where I could make some putts.”

Reed, who entered the week No. 7 in the FedEx Cup standings, is now 28 under in his last five PGA Tour rounds.

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