Patrick Cantlay dominating in the desert once again, tied for lead at the Shriners

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Patrick Cantlay dominating in the desert once again, tied for lead at the Shriners

PGA Tour

Patrick Cantlay dominating in the desert once again, tied for lead at the Shriners

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LAS VEGAS – If TPC Summerlin had one of those giant marquees that dot the Las Vegas Strip to showcase the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, the headliner in the biggest letters would have to be Patrick Cantlay.

Succinctly, the guy owns this desert stage.

In his tournament debut in 2017, he won his first PGA Tour title. In defense of that victory the following year, he finished runner-up, one stroke behind Bryson DeChambeau. And through two rounds of his third trip to this desert haven, he’s atop the leaderboard again.

Following a 5-under-par 66 in the first round, Cantlay toured his treasured track in 64 strokes Friday to join Brian Stuard in first place at 12 under. He’s made just one bogey, missed just one green in regulation and racked up two eagles and 10 birdies.

Later in the round Lucas Glover and Kevin Na joined Cantlay and Stuard in a tie for first.

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Cantlay’s eagle on the par-4 15th in the second round came the result of driving the green with a 292-yard whack with a 3-wood and knocking in a 45-footer. This came during a stretch where he was 6 under over 7 holes.

“That kind of kick started me, got me going,” he said of the eagle on 15.

But he’s always been on the go here. He’s played 10 rounds and posted a number in red figures nine times. The only time he didn’t break par, he matched it.

“I like this place,” Cantlay said, which is an understatement from the understated world No. 7. “Have a good track record here and I really feel comfortable around here. I like the golf course, so I think that helps.”

Also helps that he’s one of the best drivers of the golf ball, both in length and accuracy. While others may choose to lay up on certain holes, Cantlay’s pulling the big dog out as much as possible.

“I think driving the ball in the fairway is really important. It’s one of my strengths, so most of the tee shots out here look really comfortable to me,” he said. “Leaves me lots of wedges, lots of opportunities for scoring.

“I want to say it’s easier for me compared to some others, and I think that’s because I feel comfortable hitting driver everywhere and I leave myself so many wedges.”

He’s also been in a good mood before he’s set foot on the grounds. He enjoys the city, especially the abundance of five-star restaurants. He especially made use of the eateries two years ago when he won.

“I was coming off China the week before, so coming back to America I was in a good frame of mind. I remember being happy to be back here with some regular food and what I’m used to,” he said.

Well, he remembers being happy a lot around this place. He’s again in line to be delighted come Sunday.

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