Cantlay’s patience leads him to No. 3 finish in his hometown

Cantlay thrived on a difficult course in his hometown.

LOS ANGELES — Riviera is a challenging course for many professional golfers. From unfamiliar surfaces such as the Kikuyu rough and poa greens to a 240-yard par three, a round there is bound to be tricky. Even occasionally, professional golfers hit shots that make them look like amateurs. 

World Golf Ranking No. 5 Patrick Cantlay enjoys the conditions, though. The Long Beach, California native and UCLA graduate has played Riviera many times and has learned how to feel at ease on the course. 

“I’ve played on this grass growing up and played this golf course a lot,” Cantlay said. “It’s different than any other week on Tour, and so I’m just really comfortable.”

This week, he seemed calm on the course in The Genesis Invitational as he finished a solo third place. Cantlay put on a show for his hometown crowd. 

“The support’s been great so far,” said Cantlay after Friday’s round. “We’ve had big galleries, and they’ve been awesome as they are every year. This feels like a hometown event for me,”

When Cantlay was near the top of the leaderboard Sunday morning, he was hoping to pick up a birdie on the first hole, and he did just that. Then, he saved par on the second hole with a pretty bunker shot. 

Through the next few holes, Cantlay stayed bogey-free. Then, he caught fire on the par three sixth hole, where his approach shot landed behind the pin and trickled back, setting him up for a birdie. His early momentum carried throughout the day as he scored three birdies on the following five holes. 

Cantlay finished his final round at four under par, bringing his tournament total to 14 under par. His composure led him to four rounds in the 60s. 

He was methodical with his shots and took time with his setup. 

“Great shots are rewarded around here, and mediocre ones are punished, so you have to stay patient,” Cantlay said.

Heightening his success was his accurate drives; he was second in the field in strokes gained off the tee. From there, he took advantage of approach shots, mainly on the fairway, ranking sixteenth in strokes gained on approach shots. And on the occasions they failed to hit the green, he made up for it with solid chip shots, finishing fourth in strokes gained around the green.

Next, the PGA TOUR heads to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, where its golfers will compete in the Honda Classic.

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