Atlanta (AP) — Patrick Cantley finished with a 25-foot birdie putt, leading Jon Rahm in a two-shot in the Tour Championship on Saturday, setting the sprint stage to a $ 15 million prize.
It may not be a two-person race at East Lake anymore.
Cantlay’s final birdie allowed him to finish powerfully after a wobbling four-hole stretch that dropped his four-shot lead to one. He finished with a 3-under 67 and a 20-under par, one round away from the FedEx Cup.
Ram finished at 68 with a 5 straight par and was still very alive. He went from a four-shot deficit after the tenth hole to a one-shot deficit just five holes later.
It’s not easy to get low on East Lake, but it’s easy to lose the ground. Cantlay did it with two mistakes in the last hour.
“I wish I could bring Game A tomorrow and run this guy a little in front of me,” Ram said.
Justin Thomas was excited about the finish, but he couldn’t miss it.
Thomas, who started the tour championship six shots late due to his position in the FedEx Cup entering the finale, was ready to get a little closer to this week’s low round. However, he drew a tee shot on the 18th of par 5, going 35 feet from rough to rough, and missed a 5-foot putt and put three for Bogey.
He was five behind.
No one was closer than Cantlay’s seven shots, which started the week with 10 under pars, after a victory in the BMW Championship made him the No. 1 seed.
Cantlay had a reason to suspect that Sunday was a little less stressful. He and Ram had a matching birdie from the greenside bunker on par 5, number 6, and then the cool Californians began to pull away.
Cantlay made a 12-foot birdie at number 7. Ram found a bunker from the tee at number 8 and made a bogey. Cantlay holed a 30-foot birdie across the green in 9th on par 3 and drilled the approach to 10 feet for another 10-foot birdie.
Just like that, he was clearing four shots and made no mistakes suggesting that he would go anywhere other than moving forward.
But he missed the 11th green because of Bogey, and then it became a real struggle at once. Cantlay found a problem to the left of the 14th fairway and had to scramble for bogeys. He terribly missed the 16th green with the 16th wedge and scrambled for the bogey again. In the meantime, he missed the 10-foot and 8-foot birdie chances he was making all day in the “Patty Ice” call.
And on the 18th, Cantlay faced a tough bunker that hit another green side bunker with a tight pin. He played as smartly as he did all week, heading for Birdie Putt 25 feet away and finishing the round happily.
Thomas was the only dreamer who seriously considered winning, alongside Kevin Na (66), who was seven shots behind.
Rory McIlroy got out of the picture at 74. Jordan Spieth on East Lake had only a par in the last eight holes of the 70 after getting off to a good start with too many bogies. Harris English didn’t make a birdie. 75 shots to the 17th hole.
It looks like match play between Cantlay and Ram, depending on how Thomas started and whether he can stay close enough.
Much more than the $ 15 million winning prize is at stake.
It is this year’s PGA Tour players that have not yet been decided after the end of Sunday’s season. Ram seems to be the top candidate for the US Open title and major finish, and the British Open champion Collin Morikawa.
Cantlay’s victory is his fourth in the season and no one else has only two. This includes the FedEx Cup.
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