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Patrick Cantlay | BMW Championship

By Ben Everell – PGATour.com

WILMINGTON, Del. – Patrick Cantlay stared robotically off into the distance as he left the par-4 10th green of Wilmington Country Club. It was the look of a measured struggle to keep things under control, or perhaps he was just taking stock of his situation.

Cantlay had just carded his second bogey in a three-hole stretch and fell two shots off the pace to put his BMW Championship title defense under severe stress. At that moment a voice pierced out above the others in the throng of people clamoring to get close during the first ever PGA TOUR event in the state of Delaware: “Let’s go, Patty Ice!”

Patty Ice. It was the nickname born amongst the large crowds in the same tournament a year ago at Caves Valley in Maryland, where Cantlay, reveling in a newfound popularity amongst the masses, found a way to victory. That same stoic Cantlay would carry on his form and claim a fourth win of the season at the TOUR Championship a week later, capturing the FedExCup.

It might be hyperbole to suggest the sound of that voice pierced into Cantlay’s consciousness this time around, but it seemed to coincide with a last deep breath and an end to his pensive gaze. Was it time for Patty Ice to return? Had he ever left?

Some might suggest the surgically efficient winner from a year ago had failed to reappear in 2022. Cantlay had a win on his resume leading into the BMW, but it came with the help of teammate Xander Schauffele at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. In individual stroke play events, he’d had to settle for 10 top 10s without a trophy. He’d lost playoffs to Scottie Scheffler at the WM Phoenix Open and Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage. Had the ice melted?

No. In fact he’d never left at all. Because it was the ability to accept those fates that allowed Cantlay to immediately bounce back with a birdie on the 11th hole Sunday, add another at the 14th and then throw an epic dart into the 17th to set up a go-ahead birdie.

And when he found himself in a tough fairway bunker lie on the 72nd hole, needing par for victory, Patty Ice produced a slashing shot to the green to secure the first ever defense of a FedExCup Playoff event. Now he heads to the TOUR Championship seeded second and will try to become the first ever repeat FedExCup champion.

All season long, Cantlay never lost faith.

“You’re not going to close the deal every time,” he said after salting away his eighth PGA TOUR victory. “You have to be cognizant of that going in, and once you accept that that’s a reality, it makes it a lot easier to play as free as possible coming down the stretch.

“It just drives you to practice a little harder,” he continued. “I’ve been playing great golf all year, so I knew that if I just kept knocking on the door and kept staying in a positive frame of mind and trusting myself that I’d knock off a few victories.”

The stat Cantlay kept reminding himself of: Jack Nicklaus had more seconds in majors than he had wins.

“That stat will shock you considering he has the most majors ever,” Cantlay said. “No one would ever say he couldn’t close or no one would say that he wilted under pressure, and yet he had more second places than anybody else.”

Cantlay has also accepted the fact the game of golf is full of lucky breaks and bounces, and one can’t control other players’ efforts. He says the only controllable is putting yourself in position to win “time after time and the bounces are going to go your way and you’ll get your fair share of wins,” he said.

Check out “Watts” in Patrick Cantlay’s bag below.

Driver: Titleist TS3 (9.5 degrees @8.75, C1 setting) – Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60 TX

3-wood: Titleist 915F (15 degrees, B1 setting) – Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 70 TX

7-wood: Titleist TS2 (21 degrees) – Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 80 TX

Irons: Titleist 718 AP2 (4-9) – Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold 120 Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (46-10F, 52-08F, 56-08M) Titleist Vokey SM8 (61 Proto)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300

Putter: Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet