Patrick Cantlay had his best round of the week on Sunday, shooting a 7-under-par 65. Only Hideki Matsuyama (63) did better. Neither could overhaul Justin Thomas at Medinah but they’ll have a chance to do it next week in the final FedEx Cup Playoff event in Atlanta.
Cantlay goes into it with a two-stroke deficit on Thomas, but he has an advantage of some sort on every other player in the field. Cantlay doesn’t know how to approach it, though.
“I haven’t done it before, so I don’t know what to expect,’’ said Cantlay. “I’m just going to go out and have a good game plan for the golf course, stick to that and let the chips fall where they do.’’
Cantlay’s goal was to make lots of birdies on Sunday, and he certainly did that. He made nine of them against two bogeys.
Matsuyama, who shot 63 twice in the tournament, got through the final 18 with an astonishing 20 putts. The record low is 18 putts, done by 10 players since such statistics were first kept in 1979.
President’s Cup preview
Tony Finau had a good week, and played in the last group on Sunday. That wasn’t good enough to get him on the U.S. team for this fall’s President’s Cup matches in Australia, however.
“It’s a little bittersweet,’’ said Finau. “Few guys played better than me this week, I knew what I needed to do, and I’m proud I gave myself a chance to do that I knew I needed a top-three finish.’’
Instead Finau wound up fourth in the tournament and ninth in the point standings for the President’s Cup team. Only eight receive automatic berths. Finau seems a shoo-in to be one of Tiger Wood’s captain’s picks, however.
The eight automatic spots for the U.S. went to Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau and Cantlay.
The International team spots went to Marc Leishman, Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Abraham Ancer, Hao Tong Li, C.T. Pan and Cameron Smith.
No title change
The BMW Championship isn’t dead after all. The sponsorship agreement, which was scheduled to end after Sunday’s round, has been extended.
The announcement, made jointly by the auto manufacturer, Western Golf Association and PGA Tour on Sunday, did not say how long the extension would be in effect but NBC Sports reported it would carry through 2022. Sites were not announced other than the one for next year. I’ll be on Olympia Fields’ North Course and the event remain a part of the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the 14th consecutive year.
BMW took over sponsorship starting in 2007. The tournament has raised over $30 million for the WGA’s Evans Scholars Foundation and been named the PGA Tour’s Tournament of the Year four times.
Electrifying start for Phil
Phil Mickelson had a memorable start to his day, which he revealed in an early morning tweet.
“How’s this for crazy,’’ Mickelson tweeted. “My hotel was struck by lightning. I was on the top floor, we were evacuated and the place is on fire (the only thing of mine on fire this week). I can’t get back into my room and may miss my tee time because I am without clothes and clubs.’’
Forty-five minutes after that tweet Mickelson sent another, saying that he would arrive at the course on time. Mickelson was staying at the Eaglewood Hotel, which is adjacent to the course. He changed into his golf shoes in the Medinah parking lot but wouldn’t talk further about the incident there.
“Turns out my clubs acted as a fire retardant. Lucky me,’’ Mickelson said in subsequent tweet.
Last two spots in the top 30 who qualified for The Tour Championship went to Lucas Glover and Jason Kokrak. The three who just missed (in spots 31-33) were Kevin Tway, J.T. Poston and British Open champion Shane Lowery.
Other notables on the outside looking in after the BMW Championship were Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Woods, Billy Horschel, Jordan Spieth and Mickelson.