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Ryder reversal as Reed sinks European hero Donaldson

Europe may have got the better of the Americans at the Ryder Cup last month but the boot was on the other foot at the Volvo World Match Play Championship on Friday as Patrick Reed proved too strong for Jamie Donaldson.

The 24-year-old U.S. Ryder Cup rookie, who wowed the crowds at Gleneagles with his sizzling golf and noisy, patriotic fervour, began his round-robin contest with Donaldson like a man on a mission.

Reed was two up inside four holes and it could have been even worse for the Welshman as his opponent peppered the flags with some sublime approach shots.

The American’s 10-foot birdie putt at the first hole hovered tantalisingly over the cup without dropping in and he spurned another big opportunity at the second when his four-footer lipped out.

Reed delivered another majestic second shot at the par-four third and this time he took advantage, rolling a six-footer straight into the middle of the hole to go one up.

Donaldson, who secured the winning point for Europe at Gleneagles, went two down at the fourth when he found a greenside bunker and, faced with an awkward stance with one foot in and another out of the sand, he failed to get up and down.

The Welshman twice had to tell his opponent that he had conceded his two-foot putt for a par as Reed struggled to hear above the constant droning of the motorcycles practising for this week’s British Superbike Grand Prix at nearby Brands Hatch.

“It’s hard to hear over the bikes,” the American told match referee Paul Carrigill with a grin.

Donaldson gave himself hope with a birdie at the long sixth but when the confident Reed restored his two-hole lead by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt at the ninth it put him in complete control.

ATTACKING PLAN

“When you are playing a guy who has been in the Ryder Cup you know you are going to be in a battle,” the American told reporters after securing a quarter-final meeting with South African George Coetzee with a run of four birdies in five holes from the 12th.

“I knew I couldn’t just go for the middle of the fairways and the middle of the greens and leave myself 30-footers. I knew I had to attack against Jamie,” added Reed after completing a 3 & 2 win.

Reed showed with his antics at the Ryder Cup that he can give and take light-hearted banter.

One of the most memorable poses at Gleneagles came when he holed a putt and held a finger up against his lips to ‘shush’ the partisan home crowd.

The five victorious European Ryder Cup players involved in this week’s event were pictured with Reed in a staged photo where Donaldson, Henrik Stenson, Stephen Gallacher, Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson were all holding a finger up against their lips.

The American said he came close to repeating the pose against Donaldson on Friday.

“I heard a couple of ‘shushes’ from the crowd on the eighth hole and if I had made my putt there I would have done it back and got them going,” he smiled. “But I missed.”

Reed and Donaldson seemed completely at ease in each other’s company and chatted on the fairways throughout Friday’s match.

“We talked about the Ryder Cup and I congratulated him,” said the American. “It’s cool to have fun with the guys.” (Reuters)

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