Patrick Cantlay nearly walked away a winner in his first trip to the WM Phoenix Open. The calm, reserved Cantlay seems to stick out amidst the hullabaloo at TPC Scottsdale, but he kept his cool to fire 67-66-68-67 to reach 16-under and in a playoff with Scottie Scheffler.
The two traded pars on the par-4 18th twice before the third time was the charm for Scheffler with a birdie.
Cantlay played the back-nine in 1-under on Sunday with no bogeys. He didn’t make double bogey or worse all week and was solid in all statistical categories. Most notably, he was sixth in strokes gained putting (5.442) and eighth in scrambling (77.27%).
Did he pay much attention to the frenzy around him?
"“No, I didn’t really pay attention to much of that,” Cantlay was transcribed last year by ASAP Sports. “I didn’t see any costumes or hear anything too crazy. With the music playing and all the people yelling, it just sounds like a dull roar in the background.”"
The former UCLA Bruin is in Pac-12 country playing for the first time since a T-26th at The American Express a few weeks ago. It was his second start of 2023 after taking T-16th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Cantlay nearly won his first event of the 2022-23 PGA Tour season, taking T-2nd. A triple bogey on the 72nd hole proved costly.
The 30-year-old Californian was 38th or better in every SG category last season. He was ninth in total SG per round (1.522) and 14th in SG tee to green (1.156). Cantlay can go low and was fifth in birdie average (4.44).
He’s also 12th in proximity from the fairway (29’5”).