Reed began the first FedEx Cup play-off event in the eighth and final automatic qualifying place for Davis Love’s team, which will attempt to avoid an unprecedented fourth straight defeat to Europe at Hazeltine next month.
And the 26-year-old made certain of a second consecutive appearance in the biennial event in style, claiming his fifth PGA Tour title thanks to a final round of 70 to finish a shot ahead of compatriot Sean O’Hair and Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo.
World No 1 Jason Day, fellow Australian Adam Scott and Gary Woodland were a shot further back, with Fowler slipping into a tie for seventh with Ryan Moore and Jason Kokrak.
“It feels amazing,” Reed told Sky Sports. “I have not had that feeling in a while coming down the last couple of holes. I felt like I did a lot of things well, although it was not the scores I wanted on the last few holes, but it was nice to win.”
“I’m so glad (about the Ryder Cup). It was a huge goal to get back played having played so well my first time, but unfortunately the cup didn’t come back with us.
“(Hoping for) sweet revenge and hopefully the cup comes back home.”
Reed, who was top scorer for the United States with three-and-a-half points from four matches at Gleneagles in 2014, started the final round a shot behind playing partner Fowler and fell further adrift after three-putting the third.
However, he responded with three birdies in the next four holes - including a chip-in on the fifth - and took the lead for the first time when Fowler failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker.
A birdie on the 12th then doubled Reed’s advantage and, when Fowler was again unable to save par from sand on the 15th, the destiny of the title was effectively decided and allowed Reed the luxury of bogeys on the 16th and 18th.
Fowler’s chances of a Ryder Cup place looked to have disappeared when he ran up a double bogey on the 16th, and although he birdied the next from 20 feet to keep them alive, he also bogeyed the last when a birdie was required.
That meant Reed, Brandt Snedeker and Zach Johnson joined the players who had already qualified - namely Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Brooks Koepka - in the team, with Love naming three wild cards on September 11 and the final one a fortnight later.
Fowler will hope to earn one of those wild cards, despite having failed to convert a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour for the fourth time, the 27-year-old carding a closing 74 after dropping just one shot in his first 64 holes.
“It’s not for me to worry about right now,” Fowler said. “I’ve just got to go out and get ready to play next week. Coming off a win there last year, I feel like I’m in a good spot.
“I played great this week, and I’m not worried about resume or anything like that. I’ve just got to continue to work on the game, continue getting better. It was almost really good this week.”
Leading final positions in US Ryder Cup qualifying race
1 Dustin Johnson* 11,975.111
2 Jordan Spieth* 11,400.143
3 Phil Mickelson* 5,919.636
4 Patrick Reed* 5,710.371
5 Jimmy Walker* 5,337.662
6 Brooks Koepka* 4,873.630
7 Brandt Snedeker* 4,432.539
8 Zach Johnson* 4,359.597
9 Bubba Watson 4,210.011
10 J.B. Holmes 4,179.466
11 Rickie Fowler 4,079.528
12 Matt Kuchar 4,035.220
13 Scott Piercy 3,356.841
14 Bill Haas 3,239.755
15 Jim Furyk 3,032.852
* denotes qualified automatically