“Just kind of one of those days that when I hit the quality good golf shot, it still ended up in a spot on the green that I had to be really defensive, couldn’t actually be aggressive with putting,” said Reed (77), who had a one-shot lead headed into Saturday’s action.
The world number 10 drained a nine-foot birdie on the ninth hole but saw his game fall apart in a nightmarish back nine performance with six bogeys and a double bogey.
“My short game just could not save me today,” said Reed. “You just can’t continue missing fairways and missing greens and expect to continue shooting under par.”
Reed, who is now eight strokes back from leader Matthew Wolff, said it was tough to pinpoint where things went wrong, telling reporters he was “just off” and struggled to hack his way out of the thick rough at Winged Foot Golf Club.
The 30-year-old, who is three over par through 54 holes, conceded that victory is unlikely headed into the finale at Mamaroneck on Sunday - though he was not ready to rule anything out.
“If I go out and shoot a really low one and finally hit some fairways, hit some greens and make some putts, you never know. It’s a Sunday at a major,” said Reed. “The guy that’s in the lead is a great golfer, and all the guys here are.” Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Chris Reese