No cheers on empty course, but Reed's ace lifts him at Open

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Patrick Reed, of the United States, checks his lie on the 17th green during the first round of the US Open Golf Championship, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Mamaroneck, N.Y. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Making a hole-in-one on an empty golf course deprived Patrick Reed of the cheers that typically accompany any great shot.

It did, however, do a whole lot for his score.

Reed one-hopped a 9-iron into the cup on the 165-yard, par-3 seventh hole at Winged Foot in the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday. The ace helped him erase a double bogey on No. 5 and set him up to finish at 4 under for the day, just one stroke behind leader Justin Thomas heading into the afternoon.

“Of course I was excited about it, but really I knew from that point that, hey, you need to settle out, get ready for the next hole,” the 2018 Masters champion said. “Around here at Winged Foot, every golf shot you have to pay attention to because you hit one poor golf shot, a lot of things can happen out here.”

Bad things.

Like what happened on the fifth hole, when Reed wound up in the left rough off the tee and then knocked his second shot into a fairway bunker with another 75 yards to the hole. He left his sand shot 20 yards short of the green and then three-putted from 60 feet for a 6.

Reed, who had never played Winged Foot before, said it is the kind of course that can turn a good shot into a bad one with a tough bounce or an unlucky roll onto the wrong side of a ridge.

“How do you react to that, how do you handle it?” he said. “I've always been very good forgetting what happened in the past, forgetting what happened on that one shot — move on and focus on what’s coming up.”