Pete Dye has a fan: Patrick Cantlay back in Players contention

Patrick Cantlay hits a shot from a sand trap on the sixth hole during the second round of the The Players Championship golf tournament Friday, May 11, 2018, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) John Raoux/AP

Pete Dye has a fan: Patrick Cantlay back in Players contention

PGA Tour

Pete Dye has a fan: Patrick Cantlay back in Players contention

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Even at the TPC Sawgrass’ most forgiving, players rolling off the ninth and 18th greens do not exactly look like they’re up for an emergency nine. But Patrick Cantlay, owner of a 66-68 start and the Players Championship clubhouse co-lead, enjoys the challenges of a Pete Dye course.

“I think it does a great job of demanding accuracy off the tee and benefits you,” Cantlay said following a round where he hit nine of 14 fairways. “It doesn’t take driver out of your hands, but you can lay back on certain holes to certain hole locations. It reminds me a lot of Hilton Head, and I like that golf course as well. So I feel really comfortable around here.”

Cantlay hit 10 drivers in a second round highlighted by five birdies and a bogey at the par-5 ninth. That’s a few big sticks off the tee more than most of today’s players employ at TPC Sawgrass. The 26-year-old’s approach stems from confidence and an embrace of Dye’s philosophy.

“The seventh hole is a perfect example,” Cantlay said. “It’s not overly long; it’s like 450 yards, and when it’s hot you can get it down there. But he makes it look with the water on the left that you want to hit it to the right. But right is more dead than left if you were to pull it in that little bunker left near the water. Because the whole hole opens up to the left. So instead of laying back or moving over to the right, I like to try and get my drive down there in the middle of the fairway. And I’ve had wedge, wedge in I think the last two days. I maybe hit 9-iron yesterday.”

In the 2017 Players, Cantlay entered the final round just four back of third-round leader J.B. Holmes. A final-round 77 gave him a tie for 22nd finish in his first Players. The former UCLA Bruin expects to keep up the aggressive approach over the weekend.

“I think you can really take advantage of this place and get a lot of wedges in your hands if you hit a lot of good tee shots,” Cantlay said.

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