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September 20, 2017

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Patrick Reed grabs PGA National lead but Noh, Leishman give chase

BETHESDA, United States -- Patrick Reed, seeking his fourth title in 10 months, fired a par 71 Saturday to seize a two-stroke lead after the third round of the US$6.5 million PGA National.

The 23-year-old American, who notably proclaimed himself one of the top five players in the world after winning at Doral in March, stood on six-under 207 after 54 holes at Congressional Country Club.

"I'm in a great position," Reed said. "Anytime you are in the lead going into Sunday you feel pretty well."

South Korean Noh Seung-Yul, Australian Marc Leishman and Sweden's Freddie Jacobson shared second on 209 with England's Justin Rose, Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge and Americans Ben Martin, Richard Lee, Hudson Swafford and Shawn Stefani sharing fifth on 210.

Reed converted his three prior 54-hole leads into PGA titles, winning last August at Greensboro, the Humana Challenge last January and at Doral three months ago.

Since dubbing himself a world top-five player, 29th-ranked Reed has missed five cuts in eight events with a best finish of 35th at the U.S. Open, but he has also become a father, his wife and caddy Justine giving birth to a daughter.

"After we played Doral, I was more focused on making sure Justine was all right and making sure the baby was fine," he said. "Family comes first, so I was more focusing on that."

As for criticism over his top-five remark, Reed said, "I'm fine. Doesn't bother me.

"I haven't had anything negative said from the guys out here. They all believe in themselves ... You can't play this game with lack of confidence."

Reed birdied the fourth and fifth holes, took bogeys at seven and eight and the par-3 13th but put his approach to two feet to set up a birdie at the par-5 16th.

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