Clutch down the stretch and for six dynamic playoff holes, Patrick Cantlay put a fitting end to an epic battle with Bryson DeChambeau by making an 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the BMW Championship on Sunday.
DeChambeau missed a 6-foot putt for 59 on Friday and missed four birdie putts to win in regulation and in the playoff Sunday. And then he missed the most important putt of the week from just inside 10 feet to extend the playoff. It cost him a victory that looked like it was his all along.
“Patty Ice” simply wouldn’t allow it.
That’s the nickname Cantlay heard from thousands of delirious fans at Caves Valley who got a royal treat in the PGA TOUR’s first appearance in Baltimore in nearly 60 years.
Cantlay lived up to the moniker over the final two hours.
He made putts from 8 feet for par, 8 feet for bogey and 20 feet for birdie on the final three holes of regulation for a 6-under 66, the last one to force a playoff. He holed par putts of 6 feet and 7 feet on the 18th hole in the playoff.
The last one gave him the victory, his PGA TOUR-leading third of the season. Not only did it move him to the top of the FedExCup standings, the victory gave Cantlay the sixth and final automatic spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
He wouldn’t have been left off, anyway, not with that clutch performance.
Cantlay now starts the TOUR Championship with a two-shot lead based on his standing as the race concludes for the $15 million prize.
It was a big disappointment for DeChambeau, who powered his way around Caves Valley and appeared to have it wrapped up when he birdied the par-5 16th for a one-shot lead, and then watched Cantlay put it in the water on the next hole.
Instead, his only big moment was saving par after driving into the stream right of the 18th fairway on the fourth extra hole.
As if the final round wasn’t entertaining enough, there were a few testy moments between the only two players who had a chance to win all day.
DeChambeau was rolling his eyes when Cantlay marked and studied 2-foot par putts on the front nine. Cantlay was walking up the 14th fairway as DeChambeau prepared to hit his approach when DeChambeau backed off and asked him to stop walking.
This was a tough loss in other ways for DeChambeau, who also closed with a 66. They finished at 27-under 261. No one has ever shot 261 on the PGA TOUR and didn’t take home the trophy.
Sungjae Im birdied his last two holes for a 67 to finish alone in third, four shots behind. Rory McIlroy closed with a 67 to finish fourth.
DeChambeau looked to be a winner long before he prematurely tipped his cap to the gallery walking up to the 18th green in regulation.
He holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 16th hole, striking a pose of head bowed with arm extended in a clenched fist. That gave him a one-shot lead, and Cantlay still faced an 8-foot par putt. He made that, a sign of what was to come.
Cantlay’s tee shot on the par-3 17th bounced short and to the right with just enough momentum to roll onto the rock framing the pond and drop into the water.
Tournament over? Not quite. Cantlay hit a lob wedge from 100 yards in the drop area to 8 feet. DeChambeau hit a poor chip from the rough to 12 feet and two-putted for bogey, and Cantlay came up clutch again to make his putt and stay one shot behind.
And then he holed a 20-foot birdie on the 18th, and DeChambeau missed his 12-foot birdie putt for the win to send it to a playoff.
There was drama all over Caves Valley, even without a trophy at stake.
Erik van Rooyen of South Africa was 139th in the FedExCup three weeks ago. He won the Barracuda Championship, tied for seventh last week at Liberty National and closed with a 65 to move into the top 30 who go to the TOUR Championship.
Sergio Garcia is headed back to East Lake for he first time since 2017. He tied for sixth to slide into the top 30. Max Homa and Charley Hoffman were bumped out.
Patrick Reed managed to hang on, but only after K.H. Lee made bogey on the 18th that cost him a trip to the TOUR Championship. If healthy — Reed has been out with bilateral pneumonia — it at least gives him a chance for one last audition to be a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup.
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