TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 20: Patrick Cantlay
December 11, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- December 11, 2018
Cantlay triumphs at Shriners for first TOUR win
Potential New Year’s resolutions for Patrick Cantlay: Find a way to beat Bryson DeChambeau, and find a way to make it to the 2019 Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Australia, where Cantlay would play for the U.S. in a major international team competition for the first time as a pro.
The only surprise is that it hasn’t happened yet. His 60 at the 2011 Travelers Championship promised stardom, his career was nearly derailed by a back injury, and now he’s returned to the upper echelon in style. Cantlay finished a sporty runner-up to DeChambeau in his first PGA TOUR title defense at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in November.
If the faces looked familiar in Las Vegas, they should have. Five months earlier, Cantlay led going into the back nine of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide but suffered a late bogey to finish fourth. DeChambeau won in a playoff over Byeong Hun An and Kyle Stanley.
When you list the top 20-somethings on TOUR, it’s easy to forget about the quiet Cantlay, 26. DeChambeau is quirkier and has more wins than Cantlay, as do Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele. But Cantlay belongs in the conversation. He made 21 cuts in 23 starts last season, reached the TOUR Championship for the second straight year, and was 20th in the FedExCup.
After playing a reduced schedule in 2017, Cantlay is a regular threat to win and a relatively new resident of North Palm Beach, Florida, where during off-weeks you can find him at The Bear’s Club playing with peers like Thomas -- good company to keep. – By Cameron Morfit
BY THE NUMBERS
Current 2018-19 position: 10th
Playoff appearances: 2
TOUR Championship appearances: 2
Best FedExCup result: 20th in 2018.
SHOTLINK FUN FACT
Patrick Cantlay has played his last eight consecutive second rounds in the 60s for a combined 31 under -- best second-round stretch of any player on the PGA TOUR since the 2018 PGA Championship.
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Patrick Cantlay in 2019.
TOUR INSIDER: Cantlay is a supreme ball-striker who was 9th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green last season. Alas, he lost strokes to the field on the greens, finishing 153rd in Strokes Gained: Putting. Perhaps not coincidentally, he missed the cut at the Masters, one of his worst results of a season that saw him notch 15 top-25 finishes. Strong title defense at Shriners in November, when he bogeyed the 17 but birdied 16, 18 to make the winner earn it. – By Cameron Morfit
FANTASY INSIDER: He lands in the same spot as last year's Top 30, and that's just fine for us. In fact, it's the perfect representation for his consistency and reliability. Since returning to the PGA TOUR (just 22 months ago), he's gone 37-for-39 with 13 top 10s and another 13 top 25s. His health and personal experiences outside the ropes have framed a perspective that introduced a fearlessness and calm to what was already a gifted skill set. As a result, the 26-year-old presents the fascinating blend of grinder and scorer. The next time I fade him might be the first, if it even happens. -- By Rob Bolton
EQUIPMENT INSIDER: Ask any equipment fan about Cantlay, and they’ll probably bring up his custom putter. It’s a Scotty Cameron GSS prototype with dancing four-leaf clovers and “Putter Studio” stamped into the back cavity, and his initials on the back bumper. He did switch into a Cameron Concept putter in 2018, but he’s currently back into his familiar Irish-stamped studio blade as of the Shriners Open. Cantlay is also relatively stubborn when switching into new equipment at the top-end of his bag. While he made the change into new 718 AP2 irons, he’s still gaming a Titleist 917D2 driver, a 915F fairway wood, an 816H2 hybrid, and Titleist SM5/SM6 wedges. It will be interesting to keep an eye on any equipment changes Cantlay makes in 2019. -- By Andrew Tursky
STYLE INSIDER: If you think all the young guns on TOUR favor super sporty looks, guess again. Cantlay is part of a group of rising stars that still has time for classic kits. There is nothing fancy about Cantlay’s style, but he has a knack for cranking out simple and solid outfits round after round. He is in his comfort zone while wearing a neutral palette of black and grey, occasionally splashing a pop of color. -- By Greg Monteforte