Patrick Cantlay performance was on fire and helped propel him to a win at the BMW Championship at Caves Valley in suburban Baltimore on Sunday, and it took 24 holes of golf on the final day to determine a winner between Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau, who both finished Sunday’s 18 holes at -27.
Caves Valley played well into DeChambeau’s game as a big hitter off the tee, but Patrick Cantlay sank six do-or-die putts in the final nine holes to keep pace and eventually win. The best of the clutch putts: a 20-footer for birdie on No. 18 that forced a playoff and an 18-foot birdie putt for the victory on the tournament’s 78th hole.
Cantlay, who now has a PGA Tour-leading three wins this season, recorded the fifth win of his career and is set up nicely for a major payday next week at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. With the win, Patrick Cantlay leads the FedEx Cup points, so he starts Thursday with a 10-stroke bonus, two more than second place Tony Finau and a larger edge on the rest of the field as the standings go on. The winner of the Tour Championship gets the FedEx Cup, a $15 million bonus, and a five-year exemption on the Tour.
Despite all that was on the line, Cantlay was laser-focused—a feeling he talked about after the round.
“I’m just as focused as I can be,” Cantlay explained. “If I look the way I do, it’s because I am locked in and focused, and I felt like that today.”
Next-generation statistics showed that Cantlay had a day to remember on the greens. Since “Strokes Gained” became a trackable statistic in 2004, no one had a better performance in that metric than Cantlay in this tournament.
In addition to the win, Cantlay received two things—one tangible and perhaps a new nickname. Shouts of “Patty Ice” came from the gallery all week and intensified Sunday after he sank putt after putt.
“There was maybe one or two guys that followed me around all four days, and they were just screaming it every hole,” Cantlay said. “These were some of the most supportive, loudest fans I’ve ever experienced.” The fans were clearly excited to attend the first-ever PGA Tour event at Caves Valley
The other perk for Cantlay was an automatic berth onto the U.S. Ryder Cup team; the win put him into the top-six of the standings, which means a guaranteed spot on the team.
DeChambeau, who is in third place in the FedEx Cup standings and will start with a seven-stroke bonus on Thursday, had his best chance to win on the second playoff hole after shooting a 66 in regulation. DeChambeau left his second shot six feet away from the cup, while Cantlay was 55 feet away. After a Cantlay two-putt, DeChambeau missed the six-footer and both moved on with pars.
The duo was well ahead of the rest of the field, as Sungjae Im finished third at -23, four shots behind the leaders.
Despite Rory McIlroy mentioning a fatigue factor after The Northern Trust last week (he’s playing a loaded schedule in addition to having a newborn baby at home), the new dad and noted wine-lover will likely be found relaxing with one of his favorite bottles out of the wine cellar in his Florida home after taking fourth place (-22). That places the two-time FedEx Cup winner solidly in the field for next week’s Tour Championship.
There was drama all over the leaderboard, as the top 30 in the field of 70 advance to play in next week’s event at East Lake Golf Club. With top-10 finishes, Erik van Rooyen and Sergio Garcia made the cut and qualified for the Tour Championship. Patrick Reed didn’t play in the BMW due to a bout with pneumonia, but he ended up in the 30th and final spot.
Van Rooyen wasn’t even inside the top 125 to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs a month ago. But he won the Barracuda Championship to make the field, then finished seventh at The Northern Trust to get into the top 70. His five-foot birdie putt on 18 gave him a fifth-place finish at the BMW and moved him up to No. 27 in the standings—not bad for a rookie!
“Obviously, it’s my first full year on the PGA Tour, and it was a goal of mine to get there,” van Rooyen said. “Six week ago or so, [however,] I wasn’t even sniffing it.”
Garcia missed the cut at Liberty National Golf Club last week but rebounded to finish tied for sixth this week, which marked his first top-10 finish since March. Garcia’s 69 on Sunday looks like a roller coaster when charted out. The Spaniard had an eagle, five birdies, two bogeys, and a double bogey.
“It’s very exciting,” Garcia said after qualifying for the Tour Championship for the first time in four seasons. “Obviously, after last week, I put myself in a difficult spot but showed a lot of guts this week.”
Garcia also hasn’t missed a Ryder Cup since 2010, and a good finish next week could persuade European captain Padraig Harrington to use a captain’s pick on the veteran golfer.
For the U.S. side of the Ryder Cup field, after Cantlay secured a spot in the top six, that left Finau—last week’s winner—on the outside looking in. Three years ago, he was a captain’s pick and is hoping to be selected by Steve Stricker in similar fashion next Sunday. His 15th-place finish this week put him right behind Cantlay in the standings.
Among the others in contention for the six captain’s selections are Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth (who has a win and two top-five finishes at majors), Harris English (two wins this season), and Daniel Berger (top-10s at two majors and a WGC event).