Champion Reed feeling confident

The 24-year-old American led from start to finish last year, shooting 63 in each of his first three rounds, to win in a tournament-record score of 28 under par.

That was his second career victory and two more have followed since, including the Hyundai Tournament of Champions just a fortnight ago, to make him only the sixth player since 1991 to win four or more times on the PGA Tour prior to the age of 25.

He is now hoping to pick up where he left off two weeks ago having taken a holiday instead of playing in the Sony Open in Hawaii last week.

Reed said: “I just feel like the confidence is growing and growing, where if I have a bad round, or if I’m struggling during a round, I still have that confidence level to keep going and turn a 75 into a 72 or a 71, rather than before where maybe my 75 would either stay at 75 or maybe go to 74 or 76.

“I feel like whenever I’m confident in what I’m going to do, and I know this is the shot I want to hit, I have the confidence going into every shot. Then if I go hit the shot, it just makes my confidence even greater.”

Jimmy Walker, who lost out to Reed in a play-off at the Tournament of Champions, bounced back to win in Honolulu last weekend but is taking this week off himself.

However, Phil Mickelson will be back in action after an off-season break in which he vowed to work on his fitness.

A new-look Jason Dufner is also in the La Quinta field with the 2013 USPGA Championship winner, whose 2014 season was hampered by injury, having lost 20 pounds during his break.

The Humana Challenge involves three courses with all the players playing a round on the PGA West’s Palmer Private, Nicklaus Private and La Quinta Country Club courses during the first three days.

The cut will then be made after 54 holes with the top 70 and ties playing the final round on Palmer Private.

However, should more than 78 players make the cut, the field will be reduced to 60 due to potential problems of fading light, although all will still receive prize money and FedExCup points.