A closer look at Cantlay's opening 36 holes
CROMWELL, Conn. – While waiting for Patrick Cantlay to push on with his third round of the Travelers Championship, it’s worth taking a deep breath and offer some appreciation for what the teenager did Friday.
In playing 36 holes at a water-logged TPC River Highlands, the sophomore-to-be at UCLA not only stormed into a one-stroke lead, but he did it with an afternoon 10-under 60 that left a small, but vocal crowd at the 18th hole cheering in a cool, damp twilight. Moments like that deserve to be played out in brilliant sunshine and on pristine stages; that was not the case, but so be it.
It was remarkable.
How remarkable? Well, consider some of the numbers:
• Cantlay’s rounds of 67-60 in the marathon session featured two eagles, 11 birdies, and just two bogeys.
• There were just three eagles at the 523-yard, par-5 13th – and Cantley had two of them.
• He birdied the par-3 fifth and par-4 18th twice.
• He had birdies or eagles on 10 of the 18 holes.
• Mind you, he played his first nine holes in level par 35; he was 13 under for the next 27 holes.
• On the day he hit 22 of 28 fairways and 30 of 36 greens.
• Oh, and using the putter just 55 times doesn’t hurt, nor does one-putting 16 times.
• Had he been involved in match-play with his playing competitors, Cantlay would have whipped Billy Horschel, 6 and 5, and thrashed Sunghoon Kang, 9 and 8.
All in all, pretty impressive stuff, but if you’re looking for further testimony to what this young man has done, consider that he was low amateur at the U.S. Open just one week ago. Two weeks on the best golf stages in the world, two made cuts. Digest that, then consider some of these tales of woe of late:
• Geoff Ogilvy missed the cut here, his third in his last four starts.
• Anthony Kim missed the cut by two. He’s now been on the outside the cut in seven of his last nine tournaments and his best finish since the Shell Houston Open is a T-54.
• Jim Furyk missed his fourth cut in the last five starts. It’s also six missed-cuts in 2011, the most for him since 2004 when he was plagued by a wrist injury. You have to go back to Furyk’s first two years on the PGA Tour (1994, 14 missed cuts; and 1995, nine) to find more MCs next to his name.
• And Justin Leonard? He missed another cut, giving him nine in 17 starts this year.
Feel free to pass this information on to Cantlay, just in case he somehow thinks this PGA Tour world is as easy as he’s making it appear.