OWINGS MILLS, Md .: For six dynamic holes in the playoffs, Patrick Cantlay ended an epic battle with Bryson DeChambeau by birding 18 feet on the 18th hole to win the BMW Championship on Sunday.
DeChambeau missed a 6-foot putt for 59 on Friday and missed four birdie putts to win in regulation and the playoffs on Sunday. And then he missed the most important putt of the week within 10 feet to extend the playoffs. It cost him a victory that seemed to be his from the start.
This is the nickname Cantlay has heard from thousands of delusional fans in Caves Valley who received a royal treat during the PGA Tour’s first appearance in Baltimore in nearly 60 years.
He putts 8 feet for the par, 8 feet for the bogey and 20 feet for the birdie on the last three holes of the regulation for a 6-under 66, the last to force a playoff. He hit 6-foot and 7-foot putts on the 18th hole of the playoffs.
The latter gave him the victory, his third of the season at the top of the PGA Tour. Not only did this propel him to the top of the FedEx Cup standings, but the victory gave Cantlay the sixth and final automatic place on the US Ryder Cup team.
Cantlay now begins the Tour Championship with a two stroke lead based on his ranking as the race ends for the prize of $ 15 million.
It was a big disappointment for DeChambeau, who made his way around Caves Valley and appeared to have finished it when he birdied the 16th par 5 for a one-stroke lead, then watched Cantlay the put in the water on the next hole. .
Instead, his one big moment was saving the par after driving into the creek to the right of the 18th fairway on the extra fourth hole.
As if the final round wasn’t entertaining enough, there were some tough moments between the only two players who had a chance to win all day.
DeChambeau was rolling his eyes as Cantlay scored and studied 2-foot putts on the first nine. Cantlay was heading up the 14th fairway as DeChambeau prepared to strike his approach when DeChambeau backed up and asked him to stop walking.
It was a tough loss in other ways for DeChambeau, who also finished with a 66. They finished 27 under 261. No one has ever shot 261 on the PGA Tour and hasn’t won the trophy.
Sungjae Im birdied his last two holes for a 67 to finish alone in the third, four strokes behind. Rory McIlroy finished with a 67 for fourth.
DeChambeau appeared to be a winner long before he prematurely flipped his cap to the gallery on his way to the 18th green in settlement.
He birdied 12 feet on the 16th par 5, striking a tilted head pose with his arm extended into a closed fist. It gave him a one-stroke lead, and Cantlay always faced an 8-foot putt. He did that, a sign of what was to come.
Cantlay’s tee shot on the 17th par-3 bounced short and to the right with just enough momentum to roll over the boulder framing the pond and fall into the water.
Tournament finished? Not enough. Cantlay hit a 100-yard lob corner in the 8-foot drop zone. DeChambeau hit a bad chip from the rough at 12 feet and two putts for bogey, and Cantlay came back again to put his putt and stay one shot behind.
And then he birdied 20 feet on the 18th, and DeChambeau missed his 12-foot birdie putt for the win and send him to the playoffs.
Erik van Rooyen of South Africa was 139th in the FedEx Cup three weeks ago. He won the Barracuda Championship, tied for seventh last week at Liberty National and finished with a 65 to enter the top 30 that goes to the Tour Championship.
Sergio Garcia returns to East Lake for the first time since 2017. He tied for sixth for the top 30. Max Homa and Charley Hoffman were eliminated.
Patrick Reed managed to hang on, but only after KH Lee bogeyed on the 18th, which cost him a trip to the Tour Championship. If a healthy Reed suffered from bilateral pneumonia, it at least gives him a chance for a final audition to be the captain’s choice for the Ryder Cup.
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