ATLANTA – The system is one Patrick Cantlay still do not like, one who earned $ 15 million as the PGA Tour’s season-long champion on Sunday, despite not scoring the lowest 72-hole record during the Tour Championship.
Does not matter.
Cantlay followed the format, and he hit the big shots when needed to hold Jon Rahm and won the FedEx Cup title at East Lake, while also being a major player over the past few weeks.
After shipment Bryson DeChambeau A week ago at the BMW Championship in a six-hole play-off match, Cantlay stayed on track and adjusted the touring championship from the moment he kicked off on Thursday until he hit his winning birdie putt on Sunday.
And it took a 10-year journey in its full circle, which saw him as a colossal university player at UCLA and a top amateur in the country to a low point when a back injury kept him from doing so for two years. to play golf. Now, here he is, beating the best players in the game as he plants himself between them.
“The biggest thing is that it gave me an excellent perspective,” said Cantlay, 29, who is ranked fourth in the world. I think everything just went well. When I was growing up, I felt like I was getting better and better at golf and life was getting better and better, and then it got as bad as it could have been. I felt as low for a while as it could have been.
“On the other hand, I feel like I’m a better person who went through those dark days. But it gives me a good perspective, and it makes me very grateful to be in the position I’m in, because it is “I was not always sure. I was very close to going back to school and putting golf behind me.”
“And I’m just very grateful to be where I am,” he added, “and I’m so happy with all the hard work that has paid off.”
Cantlay apparently secured the tournament when he hit the 16th hole in the spot to take a two-stroke lead over Rahm. Then Cantlay gave back almost everything with an approach over the green on the 17th, a shot that fell short and a powerful 5-foot shot for bogey to maintain a one-shot lead.
And when Rahm hit his second shot on the green on the par-5-18th and set up an eagle chance, Cantlay followed — after reaching a 361-yard row — with a 6-iron to 11-footer. It put up a two-putt birdie and a one-stroke win.
That means a $ 15 million payday for Cantlay from the FedEx Cup bonus fund, and Rahm gets $ 5 million.
“It felt like a big win, and it was,” Cantlay said. ‘I played great [Sunday]. I kept telling myself to focus and include, and I did an excellent job today. ”
Cantlay had no choice but to leave East Lake with the title. Rahm experienced an intimidating presence when he played the last three rounds with Cantlay, and did his best to overcome a four-shot deficit at the beginning of the week, which is part of the unique FedEx Cup formula, in which players started with a staggering score related to their position in the points race.
Rahm, the reigning U.S. Open champion, shot 68 without a bogey on Sunday, but simply could not get enough birdie putters to drop to ever draw. And when it looks like things could turn on the par-4 17th, Cantlay delivers again.
Patrick played great golf, and he was four strokes ahead of me [at the start of the tournament]. “Even though I may have been the better man this week, he deserved it,” said Rahm. “He played incredibly. It up-and-down after he missed [the first chip on] 17, the second shot of 18 to make it almost, is even more impressive.
“I think you can say he won it. He played incredible golf.”
Rahm still had a good payday, with $ 5 million left.
“It was really strange to have this disappointment of not winning on a day when you earn $ 5 million,” Rahm said.
Both Cantlay and Rahm pointed out flaws with the FedEx system. They both expressed their feelings about its shortcomings. And yet it was they who provided the drama, as no one else could come near.
Rahm was not aware at the time that he was actually equal Kevin Na for the lowest total of 72 holes, shoot 14 below par. Xander Schauffele was next at 12 under, and Cantlay was tied at 11 under with Viktor Hovland and Justin Thomas.
“I think this format is less confusing. But I do not think it is a good format,” Rahm said. “I do not like that we no longer have a tour champion. So I do not like that no one knows when they look at the standings who shot the lowest round this week.”
However, all players took note of the rules, and Cantlay was able to protect his advantage from two strokes all week. This is a different kind of pressure, which according to him was difficult to process.
The last three rounds have been particularly intense as both Cantlay and Rahm put on an impressive performance, one that would be fun if repeated in three weeks at the Ryder Cup, for which Cantlay suddenly looks like the best American player and Rahm will look undoubtedly to those of those most reckoned with in Europe.
It was the fourth win of the season for Cantlay, who won the Zozo Championship in October, the Memorial Tournament in June, the BMW and the Tour Championship.
At the Zozo, Cantlay held off Thomas and Rahm. Cantlay klop Collin Morikawa in a playoff game at the Memorial after Rahm withdrew due to a positive COVID-19 Test when he led by 54 strokes by six strokes. Last week at the BMW, Cantlay continually made putts to stay alive, eventually winning with a birdie to send DeChambeau on the sixth extra hole.
“I would not necessarily call him underestimated, but I might underestimate him.” Stewart Cink said. ‘Patrick just has nothing that stands out, but that’s what makes him such an excellent player, that he also has nothing that is a weakness.
“He’s very tall. He’s hitting a lot of fairways. He’s had a massive short game. He’s tough under the gun, and he’s a good putter. I mean, I know golf pretty well. Tell me if I miss anything here. He’s just the whole package. “