LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Patrick Cantlay started this season amid great uncertainty.
He’s finishing it with a flourish.
“I played really well, took advantage of the short holes,” he said after firing a second-round 65 to get to 10 under par and in solo fourth, six off the lead. “There’s a lot of driveable par-4s and some getable par-5s. You’ve got to get your scoring there.”
Cantlay made seven birdies against just one bogey, and although he came into this week at 41st in the FedExCup, he is now projected to move up to 21st. The improvement is even more eye-opening when you consider where he was at the start of this season.
The former UCLA Bruin and No. 1-ranked amateur in 2011, Cantlay saw the start of his pro career complicated by back problems and the death of a friend, Chris Roth, who died in Cantlay’s arms after being hit by a car in 2016. In March, Cantlay came into the Valspar Championship playing on a major-medical extension; he had 10 starts in which to earn 389 FedExCup points or $624,746. His solo second-place finish at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course was worth $680,400, making him fully exempt for the remainder of this season.
He kept going from there. Despite still getting used to the travel required on TOUR, Cantlay finished T3 at the RBC Heritage, and T10 at THE NORTHERN TRUST. Now he’s right where many expected he would be when he ruled the amateur ranks.
“Not really,” Cantlay said, when asked if he was surprised by his performance at Conway Farms and his solid play all season. “I prepare and practice in order to put myself in position to win tournaments, and I feel like I’m able to do that. My prep has been good. My body is feeling really good, which is nice for a change, and looking forward to just keep doing what I’m doing.”
Here are the players who are projected to move inside and outside the top 30 that will advance to the final leg of the FedExCup Playoffs, the TOUR Championship.