The Can't-Miss Kid
Patrick Cantlay wins Amateur Championship in dramatic fashion
Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos joined elite company by winning the 112th SCGA Amateur Championship today. The rising UCLA sophomore’s score of 270 topped Manav Shah of Bakersfield by one stroke.
“It’s nerve wracking,” said Cantlay when asked about the close finish. “You’re trying to do the best you can, and every shot means a ton, but it’s the most fun you can have on the golf course.”
Cantlay fired rounds of 69-70-65-66 at San Gabriel CC over the weekend, and entered the final round tied with Shah. Both were three-strokes behind leader Max Marsico of Las Vegas, who led after each of the first three rounds. Marsico finished two-shots back of Cantlay after an even par round of 71 to close the tournament. Before Sunday, Marsico hadn’t shot a round over 68.
Cantlay, who grabbed the majority of the attention both before and during the tournament due to his impressive play in recent PGA Tour events, found tough competition in Shah, a rising University of San Diego sophomore. Shah, who recorded a bogey on 18, lipped out his four-foot putt for par. The miscue by Shah left the door open for Cantlay, who found out on the 18th tee box that he just needed to par the final hole for the win.
After pulling his drive off 18 just left of the fairway, Cantlay found himself in a bit of trouble, hitting his second shot into a bunker in front of the green. With what might have been the most impressive shot of the tournament, Cantlay just missed holing his greenside bunker shot, hitting the flag and leaving the ball just one-inch from the hole. Knowing he just needed to tap in for the win, Cantlay gave the crowd of nearly 250 people a hearty fist pump from inside the bunker, before finishing at 14-under par 270.
"When you tee it up, you want to win,” said Cantlay. “Anything short of that is a disappointment. I definitely didn’t have my best stuff Friday, but I still felt like I was right there in it. A couple good scores this weekend, and here we are.”
Shah finished at 13-under par 271, posting three straight rounds of four-under par 67 to close the tournament.
“The last putt kind of button hooked on me and lipped out,” said Shah, who would have forced a three-hole playoff with a par on 18. “But it was great to come out and play well, play the best players in Southern California, and have a chance to win. That’s all I can ask for.”
Marsico finished at 12-under par 271, and Kevin Dougherty of Murrieta finished at seven-under par 277. The recent State Amateur Champion Bhavik Patel of Bakersfield finished in fifth, posting a score of six-under par 278.