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Cantlay earns epic BMW Championship win

August 29, 2021


By PGATOUR.com

OWINGS MILLS, Md.
– They called him “Patty Ice”.

Starved of a PGA TOUR tournament for over half a century the Baltimore faithful came in their droves and created an atmosphere of deafening roars around Caves Valley Golf Club.

They tried to get his attention, but Patrick Cantlay appeared not to notice. The nickname came because of his ability to seemingly not make mistakes. It gathered momentum because of his unflappable temperament that was highlighted against the always animated Bryson DeChambeau.

The crowd was in full voice all afternoon and as it became apparent the back nine of the BMW Championship was a race in two between DeChambeau and Cantlay they flocked to the super pairing.

They cheered and chanted for both competitors, but Cantlay only offered the odd casual hat tip, or half wave. Nothing more.

Until it was finally over.

After outlasting DeChambeau in an epic six-hole playoff the applause was too muted for the only three-time winner this season’s liking. He gestured for more as finally a huge smile cracked across his usually steely focused gaze.

And didn’t they give it to him. It was worthy of the feat. Cantlay had just taken over the FedExCup lead and now heads to the TOUR Championship as the man to beat for the TOUR’s ultimate prize.

But did he actually hear the crowd or was he so far inside his own bubble he failed to notice. Surely he heard the Patty Ice chants? And were they deserved in his mind?

“I got it all week. There was maybe one or two guys that followed me around maybe all four days, and just every hole, screaming it. These were some of the most supportive, loudest fans I've ever experienced,” Cantlay admits

“I'm as focused as I can be on every single shot, and I try not to let my mind get past the moment that I'm in, and maybe that's why I come across a little sedated out there.

“But I'm locked in, and I'm as focused as I can be. Then I kind of let the chips fall where they do. Try not to get caught up in being out-driven 45 yards or whatever it is. I just try and lock in and do my absolute best in that moment, and my best is pretty good.”

His best this week was better than pretty good. It was record breaking. Cantlay’s victory was born via an incredible putting performance.

Since ShotLink has been measuring the stat from 2003 no other player has dominated on the greens compared to the field than Cantlay at Caves Valley. He gained +14.577 shots to the field on the greens in regulation play. In other words he was 3.644 shots better than the field average per round on the greens.

The record was previously held by Kevin Na who ironically did it to beat Cantlay in a playoff at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in the 2019-20 season.

“A little redemption,” Cantlay called it after making 537 feet, 5 inches of putts over the four rounds.

“(The putter) felt great. I actually switched to that putter through two rounds last week, so I think I took it out on Saturday last week, and I have been working with the guys over at Scotty Cameron all year since I got into this new putter around maybe Wells Fargo was the first week I put this model in.

“Finally have one that feels absolutely perfect, and I can't thank those guys over at Scotty Cameron, Paul Vizanko and José, enough. They just sent me a ton of putters, and I got the magic one now.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing though.

After living up to the Patty Ice name all week it appeared he’d finally melted away on the par-3 17th hole on Sunday. DeChambeau had taken the lead the hole before but left his iron shot on 17 short in the rough. The door was open.

Patty Ice found the water instead of the green. After a drop 100 yards out he recovered to eight-feet and then didn’t bat an eyelid as DeChambeau dropped his chip 10-feet short and missed the par.

Patty Ice returned and made the clutch bogey putt.

Down one with a hole to play he hit a nice approach to 21-feet to at least give himself a chance. DeChambeau hit it to 12-feet. But Patty Ice was stone cold again, making his birdie before his opponent missed and sent the contest to extra holes.

As DeChambeau missed a few chances to prove he also has ice in his veins Cantlay’s confidence grew. But when DeChambeau’s shot on the fifth playoff hole (at 17) stopped six feet from the pin, Patty Ice needed to respond. He hit it to two feet.

One more trip up the 18th followed and Cantlay’s approach stopped 17-feet from the hole. DeChambeau countered at eight feet.

Patty Ice wasn’t worried. He buried the putt. DeChambeau couldn’t match and it was over.

So now attention turns to East Lake and the TOUR Championship were Cantlay starts at 10-under par, two clear of Tony Finau, three ahead of DeChambeau, four clear of Jon Rahm and five ahead of Cameron Smith. The remaining 25 players will be staggered between six and 10 back.

But in order to win the FedExCup Cantlay has to beat a course where his three previous appearances yielded T20-T21-T21 in the 30-man field. He says putting the ball in the fairway more often will be a key factor for him to improve, as will leaving uphill putts on the sloped greens.

“I’ll be trying to reset and play the golf tournament like any other golf tournament, just trying to put a bunch of rounds in the 60s on the board. It's a really good golf course. It's usually in fantastic shape,” Cantlay said.

“I haven't played that well there in the past, that's true, but it's a golf course I like. I like the visuals out there, and I'm looking forward to having a better result this year.”

It wouldn’t be wise to bet against Patty Ice.

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