Cantlay edges Thomas, Rahm for Zozo Championship

Patrick Cantlay recorded a 7-under 65 in Sunday’s final round to finish at 23-under 265 and win the Zozo Championship @ Sherwood in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Cantlay was three strokes back entering the day but carded nine birdies and two bogeys in his final trip around Sherwood Country Club to notch his third career victory. He finished one shot ahead of Justin Thomas and Spain’s Jon Rahm.

Rahm had a chance to force a playoff, but his birdie putt on 18 stopped just right of the hole.

“I knew I was behind and I knew I had to get off to a good start,” Cantlay said on the Golf Channel of his final round. “I played really well on the back nine.”

Udoka Azubuike
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Coming from behind to edge Rahm (68 on Sunday) and third-round leader Thomas (69) was pleasing to Cantlay.

“I definitely show up to tournaments expecting to win more than I have (won),” Cantlay said. “I’ve had some close calls but the key is just putting yourself into contention.”

Cantlay’s previous wins came in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in 2017 and the Memorial Tournament in 2019.

He felt his recent play was indicating he would have a chance to win a tournament.

“I feel like I’ve been playing really well over the last little stretch, I just haven’t put it together for four days in a row,” Cantlay said. “This week, it was different.”

Cantlay scored four birdies in a five-hole span to highlight his charge. The stretch ended with a birdie on the par-3, No. 15.

Jon Rahm narrowly misses out on No. 1

Rahm remained No. 2 in the world when Thomas made a birdie putt on 18 to tie him for the second. That putt allowed Dustin Johnson, not playing this week due to a COVID-19 positive test, to keep the top spot in the rankings.

Rahm drained six birdies, but back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13 set him back. He had a birdie on 16 and four pars over the last five holes but wasn’t going to quibble with the missed putt on 18.

“It kept going right,” said Rahm, who carded a 63 in the third round. “It is what it is. I could go all the way back to my first hole of the tournament when I missed a 3-footer for birdie on 10. I can easily pick one shot that I could have done better. It’s just golf. It happens.”

Thomas had four birdies and one bogey but felt he didn’t take advantage of other opportunities.

He had 10 pars and one bogey in an 11-hole stretch prior to the birdie on 18. He said he didn’t “have his best stuff,” and was plagued by poor execution.

“It just sucks when you’re right there and you don’t get it done,” said Thomas, “but hopefully I’ll learn from it to where it won’t happen anymore.”

Russell Henley (66 on Sunday), Bubba Watson (68), Ryan Palmer (69) and Australia’s Cameron Smith (67) tied for fourth at 19-under 269.

“Over the weekend, I just played probably a little bit smarter and hitting the right shots rather than trying to go at everything, which is hard to do when the course is playing pretty easy,” Smith said. “It was really solid and the putts went in over the weekend, which is nice.”

Joel Dahmen (67), Cameron Champ (67) and Canada’s Corey Conners (66) tied for eighth at 18 under.

Many marquee names struggle

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy (66 Sunday) and Xander Schauffele (65) were among the players who tied for 17th place at 15-under 273. Tiger Woods shot a 2-over 74 to finish tied for 72nd at 1-under 287 while Phil Mickelson (78) concluded the tournament at 3-over 291.

Woods said he was disappointed with his showing.

“The only thing I can take out of this week that I did positively I feel like each and every day and pretty much every hole is I putted well,” Woods said. “I feel like I rolled it great. Unfortunately, most of them were for pars and a couple for bogeys here and there, but not enough for birdies.”

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)