Patrick Reed tied for second at Travelers Championship

Hunter Mahan, right, waits to tee off on the eighth hole with Rickie Fowler, left, and Harris English during the first round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament in Cromwell, Conn., Thursday, June 20, 2013.  (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)
Hunter Mahan, right, waits to tee off on the eighth hole with Rickie Fowler, left, and Harris English during the first round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament in Cromwell, Conn., Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

CROMWELL, Conn. — Former University High standout and PGA Tour rookie Patrick Reed moved into a tie for second at the Travelers Championship, two shots behind leader Bubba Watson.

Reed fired his second straight 4-under 66 to get to 8-under and move into a tie with Padraig Harrington behind the 2010 champion Watson, who is at 10 under.

For Reed, it’s an opportunity to improve on what has been an inconsistent 2013 season, one that has included two top-10 finishes and eight missed cuts. He has found his groove lately, however, as the former Augusta State star made his fifth straight cut.

It’s a stretch he attributes to a change in equipment from Nike to Callaway before the Byron Nelson Championship last month.

Reed is coming off his strongest finish two weeks ago at the Fed Ex St. Jude, where he finished fifth.

“Any time you finish top 10, especially the week before, it always gives you that extra edge and confidence that you can put four rounds together,” Reed said. “That’s the main key, I just need to put four rounds together.”

Reed and the rest of the field will need to hit the fairways in order to put those rounds together.

“Playing (River Highlands) last year it seems like I hit my tee shots very well,” Reed said. “This year I’m doing the same. That’s the key, to hit fairways out here because the rough is so thick.”

It also doesn’t hurt to putt well, as he leads the field in putts per green in regulation.

Reed said he is well aware of the successes of Watson and Hunter Mahan, who seized their first Tour wins at this event.

“I think there’s like 14 first-time winners here,” Reed said. “I’d love to make it 15.”

Reed and his wife, Justine, who doubles as his caddie, are not going to let themselves get too worried about what other players are doing this weekend and will instead control what they can control.

“We set a goal for a number and then we try to go for that number,” Reed said.

Justine said she believes the goal is to get in the top 125 by season’s end in August and gain the 2014 PGA Tour card for next year.

“That’s why we work so hard day in and day out — to make sure we’re inside that number,” Justine said. “And hopefully at the end of the day we are.”

This weekend could go a long way in assuring that.