Patrick Cantlay eyes FedExCup after epic BMW Championship win
August 29, 2021
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Patrick Cantlay sinks 17-footer for winning birdie at the BMW Championship
OWINGS MILLS, Md. – They called him “Patty Ice”.
Starved of a PGA TOUR tournament for over half a century, the Baltimore faithful came in droves and created an atmosphere of deafening roars around Caves Valley Golf Club.
They tried to get his attention, but Patrick Cantlay appeared not to notice. The nickname came because of his steely composure under pressure. It gathered momentum because of his unflappable temperament that was highlighted against the always animated Bryson DeChambeau.
The crowd was in full voice all afternoon. As it became apparent the back nine of the BMW Championship was a race between DeChambeau and Cantlay, they flocked to the final pairing.
They cheered and chanted for both competitors, but Cantlay only offered the odd casual hat tip, or half wave. Nothing more.
Until it was finally over.
After outlasting DeChambeau in an epic six-hole playoff, the applause was too muted for this season's only three-time winner. He gestured for more as finally a huge smile cracked across his face.
And didn’t they give it to him. It was worthy of the feat. Cantlay had just taken over the FedExCup lead and now heads to the TOUR Championship as the man to beat for the TOUR’s ultimate prize.
But did he actually hear the crowd or was he so far inside his own bubble he failed to notice. Surely he heard the Patty Ice chants? And were they deserved in his mind?
“I got it all week. There was maybe one or two guys that followed me around maybe all four days, and just every hole, screaming it. These were some of the most supportive, loudest fans I've ever experienced,” Cantlay admits. “I'm as focused as I can be on every single shot, and I try not to let my mind get past the moment that I'm in, and maybe that's why I come across a little sedated out there.
“But I'm locked in, and I'm as focused as I can be. Then I kind of let the chips fall where they do. Try not to get caught up in being out-driven 45 yards or whatever it is. I just try and lock in and do my absolute best in that moment, and my best is pretty good.”
His best this week was better than pretty good. It was record breaking. Cantlay’s victory was born via an incredible putting performance.
Since ShotLink has been measuring the stat from 2004, no player has gained more strokes on the greens in a single week. He gained +14.58 with his putter at Caves Valley. In other words he was 3.6 shots better than the field average per round on the greens.
The record was previously held by Kevin Na, who ironically did it to beat Cantlay in a playoff at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in 2019.
“A little redemption,” Cantlay called it after making 537 feet, 5 inches, of putts over the four rounds. “(The putter) felt great. I actually switched to that putter through two rounds last week, so I think I took it out on Saturday last week, and I have been working with the guys over at Scotty Cameron all year since I got into this new putter around maybe Wells Fargo was the first week I put this model in.
“Finally have one that feels absolutely perfect, and I can't thank those guys over at Scotty Cameron, Paul Vizanko and José, enough. They just sent me a ton of putters, and I got the magic one now.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though.
After living up to the Patty Ice name all week, it appeared he’d finally melted away on the par-3 17th hole on Sunday. DeChambeau had taken the lead the hole before but left his iron shot on 17 short in the rough. The door was open.
Patty Ice found the water. After a drop 100 yards out, he wedged to 8 feet and then didn’t bat an eyelid as DeChambeau dropped his chip 10 feet short and missed the par putt.
Patty Ice returned and made the clutch bogey putt.
Down one with a hole to play, he hit a nice approach to 21 feet to give himself a chance. DeChambeau hit it to 12 feet. But Patty Ice was stone cold again, making his birdie before his opponent missed and sent the contest to extra holes.
As DeChambeau missed a few chances to prove he also has ice in his veins, Cantlay’s confidence grew. But when DeChambeau’s shot on the fifth playoff hole (at 17) stopped 6 feet from the pin, Patty Ice needed to respond. He hit it to 2 feet.
One more trip up the 18th followed and Cantlay’s approach stopped 17 feet from the hole. DeChambeau countered at 8 feet.
Patty Ice wasn’t worried. He buried the putt. DeChambeau couldn’t match and it was over.
So now attention turns to East Lake and the TOUR Championship where Cantlay starts at 10 under par, two clear of Tony Finau, three ahead of DeChambeau, four clear of Jon Rahm and five ahead of Cameron Smith. The remaining 25 players will be staggered between six and 10 back.
But in order to win the FedExCup Cantlay has to beat a course where his three previous appearances yielded T20-T21-T21 in the 30-man field. He says putting the ball in the fairway more often will be a key factor for him to improve, as will leaving uphill putts on the sloped greens.
“I’ll be trying to reset and play the golf tournament like any other golf tournament, just trying to put a bunch of rounds in the 60s on the board. It's a really good golf course. It's usually in fantastic shape,” Cantlay said.
“I haven't played that well there in the past, that's true, but it's a golf course I like. I like the visuals out there, and I'm looking forward to having a better result this year.”
It wouldn’t be wise to bet against Patty Ice.