Patrick Cantlay wins BMW Championship in dramatic playoff

Patrick Cantlay made a litany of must-have putts, culminating in a 17 1/2-foot birdie on the sixth playoff hole that carried him to a victory over Bryson DeChambeau at the BMW Championship outside Baltimore.

The astonishing win at Caves Valley Golf Club, his third title of the season, gave Cantlay 2,000 FedEx Cup points, enough to move into first place entering next week’s Tour Championship. He also clinched one of six automatic berths for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

DeChambeau, who came up just shy of a round of 59 two days earlier, missed four putts to win the tournament — the 72nd hole and each of the first three playoff holes at Owings Mills, Md.

Cantlay drained his slightly left-to-right, mid-range putt on the sixth playoff hole, played at the par-4 18th, and DeChambeau missed a 9-footer that would have extended the playoff.

Patrick Cantlay Battles Back

Trailing by a stroke late in his round, Cantlay’s hopes looked all but dashed when his tee shot at No. 17 landed short and dribbled into the water. But DeChambeau flubbed his second shot, a chip out of the rough. Cantlay saved bogey from 8 feet and DeChambeau missed his par putt.

“I think the bogey save on 17 was a tricky little putt,” Cantlay said. “Obviously not the way I wanted to play that hole, but that kept me in the golf tournament.”

Patrick Cantlay
Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

It set Cantlay up to drill a nearly 22-foot birdie putt at his 72nd hole to get to 27-under 261. DeChambeau’s first would-be winning putt of the afternoon, a 15-footer for birdie, missed left, leading to the playoff. Both players carded rounds of 6-under 66.

Among Cantlay’s other highlights were a 21 1/2-foot birdie at No. 14 and an important 9-foot par save at No. 16.

Dramatic Playoff

The duo opened the playoff by playing No. 18 twice. On the first play-through, Cantlay’s approach sailed over the green, but his chip out of the rough hit the hole, which slowed the ball to about 5 1/2 feet. DeChambeau barely missed his birdie putt, and Cantlay saved his par.

On their second go-round, DeChambeau dialed in a laser of an approach shot that landed right next to the cup and spun back to 6 feet. After Cantlay two-putted for par, DeChambeau’s would-be winner lipped out. It was almost identical to the distance that he had at No. 18 Friday to make birdie for a 59 — a putt he also missed.

“I liked Bryson’s chances of making that 6- or 8-footer up the hill or whatever it was, and yeah, I thought he was going to make that putt,” Cantlay said. “That was maybe the only time that I really thought I was done. But he didn’t make it. That’s golf.”

Bryson DeChambeau
Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The golfers played the par-3 17th for their third playoff hole, and after Cantlay missed a birdie, DeChambeau again hit the cup to blow another chance to win.

Back at the par-4 18th, DeChambeau’s tee shot sailed into a creek. He took a penalty stroke and recovered by hitting a wedge into the green, leaving himself a 4-foot par putt that he’d go on to make. This time, it was Cantlay who couldn’t convert a birdie putt to win.

They played No. 17 one more time and dropped their tee shots inside 5 feet of the cup to lead to matching birdies.

Record-Breaking Putting Performance

Cantlay set a PGA Tour record for strokes gained: putting in a single event by outperforming the field by +14.577 strokes, a statistic that’s been tracked since 2004. As he rolled in clutch putt after clutch putt, the nickname “Paddy Ice” caught on around the course.

“That’s the first time I’ve heard it, but I got it all week,” Cantlay said. “I think there was maybe one or two guys that followed me around maybe all four days, and they just, every hole, (were) screaming it.”

Sungjae Im of South Korea shot 67 and finished third at 23 under. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy also turned in a 67, taking fourth place at 22 under.

Two Work Into Tour Championship

South African tour rookie Erik van Rooyen had a bogey-free 65 to get to 21 under, good for fifth place and a berth in the Tour Championship. The top 30 in FedEx Cup points qualified for the championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

van Rooyen started the week 45th in points and moved up to 27th. He said he was “super able” to keep track of which side of the Tour Championship bubble he stood during his round.

“There’s scoreboards just about on every green,” van Rooyen said. “The key is to kind of forget about that and play good golf. If you’re constantly thinking about, ‘Ooh, where am I going to be, what’s this guy doing, what do I need to make,’ you’re probably not going to play great, so trying to put that in the freezer, that’s kind of the key.”

Another golfer who played his way into the Tour Championship field was Spanish star Sergio Garcia. Entering the week 44th in FedEx Cup points, Garcia shot his fourth straight round in the 60s Sunday, a 69 that got him into a tie for sixth with Dustin Johnson (66) at 20 under. That finish was enough to move to 28th in the Cup standings and secure his trip to Atlanta.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)