Once more, Patrick Cantlay sped away with the BMW Championship trophy.
The 30-year-old Californian beat Scott Stallings by one stroke after making a birdie on the 17th hole of Wilmington Country Club’s south course. Cantlay became the first player to successfully defend a FedEx Cup Playoffs event after shooting a 2-under 69 for a 72-hole total of 14-under 268.
Prior to winning the FedEx Cup last year, Patrick Cantlay needed six additional holes at Caves Valley to win the BMW Championship. Cantlay won his eighth PGA Tour championship and second of the season on a new course, but the outcome was the same.
Cantlay had not won an individual championship since winning back-to-back at the BMW and Tour Championship last year. He won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with Xander Schauffele as his partner. The Tour Championship, where the FedEx Cup will be decided, will be played next week, and Scottie Scheffler, who tied for third, will start in the lead at 10 under par with a two-stroke advantage.
But I think I’ll be best suited if I just ignore that and just go out there and play my game and do my best, said Scheffler. “This is the only week of the year where you actually get strokes on the field,” he said.
No player has ever successfully defended their FedEx Cup title, so Cantlay will start in second place, two strokes behind Scheffler in the staggered-start leaderboard.
Stallings, who finished with a score of 69, was going for his first PGA Tour victory since the Farmers Insurance Open in 2014. At 18, he had a chance to tie Cantlay with a 9-foot birdie putt, but he missed it.
It accomplished exactly what we anticipated, according to Stallings, but from behind the hole.
However, in his 12th year on the Tour, 37-year-old Stallings, who began the week ranked 47th in the points standings, did manage to secure his first trip to the Tour Championship, which is only open to the top 30 players in the season-long FedEx Cup point standings.
That was Stallings’ top objective when the year began. “I believe it was better late than never to compete with the top players in the world and make it to East Lake.”
Cantlay started the round with two 65s before taking the lead with a hole-out eagle at 14 and overcoming some missed short putts. Even though he missed three putts from within five feet, he was only the second player this season to shoot 65 or less.
After recording his second bogey of the day at hole No. 10, he fell behind Stallings by two strokes in the final round, but he never faltered after that. On his route to the clubhouse, he scored birdies at holes 11, 14, and 17. The latter featured a drive of 351 yards that benefited from a favourable bounce. He wedged to 6 feet from there.
K.H. Lee, who finished as the odd man out at No. 31 last year, made birdies at the first four holes and shot 65 to jump from No. 35 at the start of the day to No. 26 in the tournament within the tournament to finish in the top 30 in the points and qualify for the FedEx Cup finale next week at the Tour Championship. Sahith Theegala, a rookie, shot 68 and finished No. 28 after making birdies on four of his final seven holes. In order to stay in the top 30 (at No. 29), Australia’s Adam Scott fought for par out of a greenside bunker on the final hole, keeping Ireland’s Shane Lowry from becoming the first player in his career to qualify for the following week in Atlanta. Despite shooting 73 in the last round, Aaron Wise managed to jump Lowry by 19 points to land at No. 30.
Scott remarked, “I suppose that’s the beauty of the FedEx Cup Playoffs the way they are. Get to East Lake, place in the top 30, and enjoy all the benefits that come with it, and you can scratch it around a bunch for the year and have a few excellent weeks.
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