The cut came after 54 holes after the la Quinta Country Club, the Nicklaus Tournament and Palmer Private Courses had been used in rotation over the opening three rounds played in a pro am format.
Reed, the winner of one PGA Tour event to date when successful at the Wyndham Championship in 2013, added a third consecutive round of 63 to race to 27 under and to a seven shot lead over Charley Hoffman and Brendan Todd with James Driscoll one shot further back.
Twelve months ago Reed missed the cut in this event and was asked what the difference was now.
"I'm a totally different golfer than last year at this time," said the leader. "I have Callaway equipment now, the equipment's been amazing. Absolutely I love the new equipment, and it worked all halfway through last year and it worked so far this year, so it just builds confidence.
"And I've been working really hard with my swing coach, Kevin Kirk. He and I have been working really hard, and then also with shotstohole.com. Stuart Leong, (Australian golf coach) the guy we have been working with, my swing coach to fine tuning out what needs to be worked on, and so I can actually take my practices and be more productive with them. With my group, my team that we worked with all off season, it's showing, it's showing the improvements that we have made.
Leong is a Melbourne based coach who has played a key role in the development of the online game analysis programme 'Shots to Hole'
Matt Jones is a clear leader of the Australians, the Arizona based New South Welshman moving into a share of 7th position with a round of 66, albeit ten shots from the leader.
Stuart Appleby 18th, Steve Bowditch 54th and John Senden 70th were the only other Australians to make the cut.