SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (Reuters) - Patrick Reed was disappointed that his final day charge fell short at the U.S. Open on Sunday but the Masters champion continued to show that he has the game to contend at the biggest tournaments with another strong major showing.
The stern Shinnecock Hills layout was heavily watered overnight to make low scoring possible after a brutal third round and Reed took full advantage with five birdies in his first seven holes to jump into a share of the lead.
The American was unable to maintain his scorching pace over the back-nine, however, eventually signing for a two-under-par 68 that saw him finish three shots behind compatriot Brooks Koepka in fourth place on four-over for the tournament.
"Of course it's disappointing, but at the same time -- to finish in the top 10 my last three majors, and to have a chance to really win all three of them and to close one off, it means a lot," Reed told Golf Digest.
Reed had yet to record a top-10 finish in a major until his breakthrough at last year's PGA Championship when he tied for second behind Justin Thomas, before the 27-year-old stormed to victory at Augusta in April.
The Ryder Cup stalwart oozes confidence at any big venue and he opened his final round with three straight birdies before whipping the crowd into a frenzy when his 12-foot birdie putt at the par-three seventh launched him into a tie for the lead.
"You knew that they were going to water the heck out of the greens, that they're going to be soft," Reed said as the USGA responded to criticism that the course had become unplayable.
"And when that happens, you're taking out a lot of the bite of the golf course."
Soft greens or not, Shinnecock Hills remains a mighty challenge and it bit back around the turn when Reed bogeyed the ninth and two of his next three holes to drop back into the chasing pack.
A birdie on the 15th was offset by another bogey at the last but Reed will take huge confidence into future majors knowing he can compete with the best in any conditions.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)