Jun
24
2011
No Sophomore Slump for This Guy!
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Cantlay earned Low Amateur honors at the US Open last week

The last amateur to win a PGA Tour event was Phil Mickelson at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open. UCLA rising sophomore Patrick Cantlay wasn’t even born yet.

While there’s still quite a lot of golf to be played, check out the leaderboard at the Travelers Championship. Cantlay, 19, shot a course record, ten-under 60 at TPC River Highlands during the second round to take a four-stroke lead at the rain-delayed event.

Six-zero! Of the numerous records he broke, Cantlay is the first amateur to post 60 on the PGA Tour. Ever.

It wasn’t the first time he’d shot 60. A few months ago he posted 11-under 60 at his home course, Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, California.

“I didn’t know that no amateur had ever shot a 60,” he said during his post-round presser. “So that wasn’t really in my brain. I knew where I was and I knew I needed to make eagle on 18 for 59. But you know, it’s tough to hole it from 152 (yards).”

He nearly did, knocking his approach to two feet for a kick-in birdie.

“I thought it had a chance,” said Cantlay. “It was covering the flag pretty good. But it takes some luck.”

Just a hole earlier on No. 17, he hit a dart to seven-feet and rolled it in to get to 12-under.

After carding a five-under 30 on the front nine, he kept his momentum going on the back by draining a 25-footer for par on No. 10.

Cantlay, who only shot three-under 67 in the first-round, said he struggled with finding the pace for the greens in the morning, but once he felt comfortable, he didn’t look back.

“I just felt like I could roll anything in and I wasn’t worried about my stroke whatsoever,” said Cantlay. “You just kind of see it with your eye the best you can and try and roll it on the line that your eye sees.”

And on those kind of days, you usually know the ball is in the hole before you see it disappear.

Since 1900 the youngest winner on the Tour is Johnny McDermott, who was 19 years, 10 months and 14 days old when he won the 1911 U.S. Open. Cantlay will be 19 years, 3 months and 9 days old on Sunday.

Cantlay, who would have won roughly $97,000 last week for finishing T21 at the US Open, continues to insist he plans to keep his amateur status. (That’s what Tiger Woods said for two years until the day he turned pro and left Stanford early.)

“I’m not thinking about that right now,” he said when asked if he’d reassess with a win this week. “So I’m going to try and take care of business this week and then see what’s going on. But I’m going to stay amateur definitely for the Walker Cup, and my plans are to stay amateur until I finish college.”

His experience at Congressional last week gave him a boost going into this week.

“It just gave me a ton of confidence that no matter where I tee it up, I can compete,” said Cantlay. “I played well last week. I didn’t play great. And I finished well. So it just gave me a lot of confidence going forward.”

From Belfast, Ireland, Rory McIlroy tweeted, “Patrick Cantlay……… RESPECT!!”

Cantlay, who says Twitter isn’t for him, acknowledges there’s still a lot of golf left to be played.

“I got 36 holes to play and I’m just going to play the golf course as best I can,” he said.

Webb Simpson, Vaughn Taylor, Alex Rocha and DJ Trahan, who fired a 62 and nobody blinked, are tied for second at nine-under. Andres Romero is also nine-under, but has only played the first five holes in his second round. Play was suspended due to darkness at 8:02 and will resume on Saturday morning at 7:00am.

(AP Photo/Fred Beckham)