On Thursday, Patrick Reed looked like the only man who was capable of taming Bethpage State Park's black course.
On Sunday, he confirmed his case.
Reed shot a one-under 70 in Sunday's fourth round, coming back from one stroke behind to win the 2016 Barclays tournament. He finished nine under overall and shot par or better in all four rounds at the difficult Farmingdale, New York, course.
Callaway Golf congratulated him on his win:
Sean O'Hair and Emiliano Grillo tied for second place at eight under. Jason Day, Adam Scott and Gary Woodland tied for fourth with matching seven-under scores.
The win was Reed's first of the 2015-16 PGA Tour season and the fifth of his career. His most recent win was at the 2015 Hyundai Tournament of Champions. This season had been marred by near-misses, with Reed having posted nine top-10 and three second-place finishes coming into the week.
The 26-year-old left nothing to chance Sunday, overcoming a bogey on the par-three third hole to post three birdies in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 4 through 7. After making the turn at two under for the day, Reed got to three under with a birdie on No. 12 before dropping a pair of strokes on Nos. 16 and 18.
His win clinched a spot on the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team, something Reed admitted was on the back of his mind earlier this week.
"Of course it's on my mind," Reed said, per Alex Myers of Golf Digest. "But really at the end the day, it's just trying to get better and play this tournament. Because if I play well, that means those other guys are going to have to play even better to try to catch me."
Kyle Porter of CBS Sports offered an early look at the U.S. team:
Reed's triumph came at the expense of Olympic teammate Rickie Fowler, whose back-nine collapse cost him the Barclays and potentially a Ryder Cup spot.
Entering the day with a one-stroke lead thanks to nearly flawless play around the green, Fowler was betrayed by the treacherous back nine that had frustrated golfers all week. After breezing through the front nine with a one-under, Fowler bogeyed No. 11 to fall behind Reed before closing with an ugly stretch that dropped him out of contention.
Fowler hit his drive into the shrubs and his approach into the bunker on No. 15 before two-putting from inside five feet for bogey.
He double-bogeyed the next hole, going from rough to bunker again on his first two shots before hitting a series of ugly pitches near the green. He wasn't within putting distance until his fifth stroke and then two-putted.
Robby Kalland of CBS Sports commented on Fowler's late struggles:
Adding insult to Fowler's late collapse was that he could have clinched his spot at the Ryder Cup with a par or better on No. 18 after birdieing No. 17. Instead, he went into the native area off the tee, needed to take a drop in the rough and then two-putted from inside 18 feet to close out with a bogey.
Fowler finished with a three-over 74 and at six under for the tournament, part of a three-way tie with Ryan Moore and Jason Kokrak for sixth place.
For those sitting at the top of the world rankings, it was a weekend of near-misses. Day (No. 1) and Scott (No. 7) each remained in FedEx Cup contention with top-five finishes, though the latter left frustrated following an even-par 71 on Sunday. Scott's scorching 65 in Saturday's third round was undone by a series of mistakes on the green on his final 18 holes.
World No. 3 Jordan Spieth retained his fifth-place ranking in the FedEx Cup standings with a tie for 10th place. He carded a two-under 69 for just his second top-10 finish in his last six starts.
The tournament wasn't as pleasant for No. 2 Dustin Johnson (two under) and No. 5 Rory McIlroy (even par), who carded a pair of 73s to close with their worst rounds of the week. Johnson had six bogeys as part of a wild day, while McIlroy double-bogeyed No. 16 and bogeyed No. 18 to knock himself out of the top 30.
Both needed big days to catch the leaders but will nonetheless leave disappointed.
Reed, meanwhile, took over the FedEx Cup lead and will look to carry that momentum throughout the playoffs. He can take home a cool $10 million if he's able to maintain his spot in first place, and he was a Ryder Cup star two years ago as part of the United States' losing effort.
Sunday's win clinched an opportunity for a do-over.
"I worked pretty hard with my coach the last couple weeks," Reed said on CBS. "My game shows I'm headed in the right direction, but I still have some things I need to work on. I couldn't have done it without my team."
"I need to find the golf course (moving forward). It would be nice," Day said on CBS after his round. "I don't think I felt comfortable over a tee shot all week. I didn't give myself a chance off the tee."
"I wasn't trying to get a decent finish," Fowler said, per the Associated Press (via USA Today). "I was trying to win."
Although Fowler missed out on earning an automatic spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, he said he has to move forward and not dwell on his disappointing finish at the Barclays, per Alex Myers of Golf Digest:
I mean, it's not for me to worry about right now. I've just got to go out and get ready to play next week. Coming off a win there last year, I feel like I'm in a good spot. I played great this week, and I'm not worried about resume or anything like that. I've just got to continue to work on the game, continue getting better. It was almost really good this week.