3 former college standouts return to Riviera
Patrick Cantlay, Blayne Barber and Luke Guthrie have been pro for less than a year, but they won't find themselves on foreign ground when they tee off today at the PGA Tour's Northern Trust Open. That's because all three competed in last year's NCAA Championship at famed Riviera Country Club.
Talk about a quick turnaround.
Guthrie and Cantlay will play together for the Northern Trust Open's first two rounds. They tee off at 1:25 p.m. Thursday on Riviera's first hole. Barber also will tee off at 1:25 p.m., but will start on the 10th hole.
Guthrie had the worst finish among the trio at last year's NCAA Championship (T45, 73-72-74), but is the only one of the three who is a PGA Tour member this year. Guthrie, a second-team All-American in 2012 for Illinois, finished in the top 20 in three consecutive PGA Tour starts shortly after last year's NCAA Championship, then finished second on the Web.com Tour money list in just 10 starts. He has made the cut in three of five PGA Tour starts this season, with three top-30 finishes.
Cantlay is making his third start of the PGA Tour season. He missed the cut at the Humana Challenge and Farmers Insurance Open, then finished ninth at last week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He finished fourth at last year's NCAA Championship thanks to a final-round 66 that followed rounds of 74-72. His 66 was the low score of the tournament. Cantlay, a product of nearby UCLA, was a second-team All-American in 2012 and the 2011 Haskins Award winner.
Cantlay received a sponsor exemption this week. He also received sponsor exemptions into the Humana, Farmers Insurance and AT&T. PGA Tour nonmembers are limited to seven exemptions per season. Cantlay also has status on this year's Web.com Tour after finishing 79th on the money list in just four starts. He also played last year's Northern Trust Open on a sponsor exemption, missing the cut with rounds of 78-72.
Barber, an Auburn product, Monday qualified for this week's event. This will be the first PGA Tour start of his career. He made headlines this fall when he disqualified himself from PGA Tour Q-School. He'll rely on Monday qualifiers and sponsor exemptions for starts on the PGA and Web.com tours this year. He finished seventh at last year's NCAA Championship after shooting 69-74-70. He won five times in a six-tournament stretch on the NGA Tour last year and made the cut in two Web.com Tour starts last year. He was a first-team All-American in 2012.
Ben Kohles also participated in last year's NCAA Championship, finishing T-69 for Virginia. He's a PGA Tour rookie after graduating from the Web.com Tour, but is not in this week's field.