Patrick Cantlay beat Bryson DeChambeau on the sixth extra hole Sunday at the BMW Championship in what was the tournament of the year on the PGA Tour
The tournament, by almost every indication, was over.
Patrick Cantlay, trailing Bryson DeChambeau by one shot with just two holes to play at the BMW Championship on Sunday, lost his chance when his tee shot on the par-three 17th found the water hazard. Or so it seemed. But Cantlay, steady as can be, proved he’s never out of a golf tournament until the final shot is struck.
It took a 21-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and six sudden-death playoff holes before Cantlay defeated DeChambeau to earn his third PGA Tour win of the season and fifth of his career. And what a victory it was.
Three times DeChambeau had a good look at a birdie putt that would’ve won the tournament; he missed all three. On the fourth extra hole, it was DeChambeau’s turn to find the water off the tee but scrambled to save par and prolong the playoff. When DeChambeau hit his approach to six feet on the fifth playoff hole, Cantlay stuck his to two feet. Finally, with the sun beginning to set on Caves Valley, it was Cantlay’s 17-footer back on the 18th green, a nearly identical putt to the one he holed in regulation to force the playoff, that won him the second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Cantlay and DeChambeau engaged in a history-making duel
There is more than one way to conquer a golf tournament. There is DeChambeau’s power, trying to bludgeon the course to death. Then there is Cantlay’s method. As DeChambeau unleashed one mighty swing after another, Cantlay refused to get sucked into that game and stuck to his own strategy.
Cantlay averaged 36 yards shorter off the tee than DeChambeau but made 32 birdies or better this week, tied with Paul Gow and Mark Calcavecchia for the most ever in a 72-hole tournament. His 537 feet of putts made are the most by a player in a PGA Tour event this season; Cantlay finished the week with the best Strokes Gained: Putting of any player in the ShotLink era, according to stats guru Justin Ray.
The fans in Maryland conferred a new nickname on him for how cool he seemed under pressure on Sunday: “Paddy Ice.” He and DeChambeau both finished the tournament at 27-under, the first time in PGA Tour history two players finished that low in the same week.
“I played really well and just tried to focus on the task at hand all day,” Cantlay said at his post-victory press conference. “Even some of the bad shots I hit today, just tried to reset and take it fresh from there.”
Cantlay will now take the lead in the FedEx Cup playoffs and begin the Tour Championship next week with a two-shot advantage. In the past three months, he’s defeated Collin Morikawa and now DeChambeau in playoffs.
“Paddy Ice” is a nickname that’s going to be hard to shake for a while.