Cantlay invited to play Northern Trust Open

Patrick Cantlay during the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur.

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Sources have told Golfweek that Patrick Cantlay, the world’s No. 1 amateur, has received a sponsor exemption into the 2012 Northern Trust Open. The event is scheduled for Feb. 16-19 at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Riviera is located just six miles from the UCLA campus, where Cantlay is a sophomore, and will host the upcoming NCAA Championship. Cantlay played five PGA Tour events in 2011, making the cut in all five and finishing in the top-25 in all but one. His best finish was a tie for ninth at the Canadian Open. He also finished 21st at the U.S. Open. His 60 in the second round of the Travelers Championship was the PGA Tour’s low round in 2011.

Cantlay also has starts scheduled the first three majors of 2012. He earned starts in the Masters and U.S. Open by virtue of his runner-up finish at the 2011 U.S. Amateur. He recently was awarded a start in the Open Championship after the R&A created an exemption for the winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal. The McCormack Medal is given to the No. 1 player in the R&A’s World Amateur Golf Rankings after the European Amateur or U.S. Amateur, whichever concludes last.

The Masters is scheduled for April 5-8. The U.S. Open will be held June 14-17 at San Francisco’s Olympic Club. The Open Championship will be held July 19-22 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England.

Cantlay made his last PGA Tour start at the Frys.Com Open, where he was grouped with Tiger Woods for the first two rounds. Cantlay tied for 67th.

He is No. 6 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings after making three starts for UCLA this fall. He finished 22nd at the Windon Memorial, third at the U.S. Collegiate and second at the Gifford Collegiate. Cantlay was the consensus national player of the year in 2010-11.

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