Patrick Cantlay has come a long way since a severe back injury put his tour pro career on hold and watching his caddie die in a hit-and-run accident. The UCLA star and former world No. 1 amateur has persevered, and Sunday in Las Vegas served as a hard-earned reward.
Cantlay won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in a two-hole playoff with Alex Cejka and Whee Kim. That first PGA Tour victory is always sweet, but especially for a determined 25-year-old player who has endured back problems that sidelined him for months at a time.
“I knew that I’d be able to get to where I wanted to be if I felt healthy,” Cantlay said. “If I felt like I didn’t have pain and I could practice and prepare for tournaments. I know how to practice and prepare for tournaments, so I can do what I want. I feel like I can play well and compete with anybody.”
That’s certainly been true this year. Cantlay qualified for the Tour Championship after playing in only a dozen events. Maybe now he has turned the corner in what many predicted would be a meteoric pro career. With the Shriners win and a two-year tour exemption, Cantlay is looking forward to playing in all four majors in 2018.
“There’s not a lot of give up in me,” Cantlay said in Las Vegas. “I never really thought about giving it up. I thought maybe there was a chance my back would never feel good enough to play again. But, fortunately, I feel great.”
Firing a final-round 67 in windy conditions at TPC Summerlin, Cantlay putted well on Sunday with his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS Prototype putter. It included an exquisite lag putt from 71 feet on the 18th that set up a tap-in par for the playoff victory over Cejka and Kim.
Cantlay is a Titleist man throughout his bag. Here’s a look at his clubs.
Patrick Cantlay’s Clubs
Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees) with Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana Blue 73X shaft
3-Wood: Titleist 915F (15 degrees) with Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana Blue S+ 70X shaft
Hybrid: Titleist 816H2 (21 degrees) with Fujikura Speeder Evolution HB 95X shaft
Irons: Titleist 714 AP2 (4-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts
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