WILMINGTON, Del. – Have a good break. A great shot. That’s how long it took Patrick Cantlay on Sunday to win the BMW Championship for the second consecutive year, with a finish that bore no resemblance to last year’s except for his clutch moments.
Another difference: The win didn’t earn him the No. 1 spot for next week’s FedEx Cup Finals at Atlanta’s East Lake.
That mattered little to Cantlay after his birdie par finish for 2 under 69 that gave him a 1-shot win over Scott Stallings at the Wilmington Country Club.
“I was glad not to play six holes in a playoff,” Cantlay said, referring to his unlikely playoff win over Bryson DeChambeau last year at Caves Valley.
This seemed to be heading in that direction with Cantlay and Stallings tied down on the track and Masters Champion Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele lurking.
With two holes left to play, Cantlay took an aggressive line to clip the corner of a dogleg, thinking he was heading for a cluster of bunkers. But the ball landed just short of the last bunker, made a big bounce across the sand, tumbled into the first cut, and rolled onto the fairway just 64 yards from the hole.
“I figured if I hit it on that line it would be in a bunker for sure,” he said. “I got an excellent break – maybe one of the best breaks I’ve gotten at the track – and when you get a break like that you have to pay for it.”
He did that by hitting a spinner with a wedge that skipped and came to a stop 5ft from the hole for a birdie and a 1-shot lead. Stallings in the front group just missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 69.
Needing par to win, Cantlay fanned his drive into a bunker, ball over his feet, 158 yards to the pin on a steep green.
“I was trying to slice an 8 iron as hard as I could and went about where I thought I could get it and it was one of the best shots I hit all week,” he said.
His putt hit the rim of the cup, leaving him with a tap-in, about the easiest shot he had all day.
Cantlay, who finished 14-under 270, became the first player to win the BMW Championship since the FedEx Cup began in 2007. No one has ever repeated themselves in any of the playoff events. The win, his second of the year, placed him at No. 3 in the world.
He played all four rounds with Schauffele and only later realized that he could have used a little help from his best friend on tour. Schauffele (71) missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have earned him third place and put Scheffler in fourth place.
That would have made Cantlay the No. 1 coming by a 2-stroke lead before the start of the Tour championship. Now he starts 2 strokes behind Scheffler, who missed a short par putt on the last hole, which ultimately didn’t cost him in the FedEx Cup.
Stallings has made 238 starts since his last win at Torrey Pines eight years ago and was playing as if the drought was ending. But he ended up missing four birdie chances within 18 feet, the last from just under 10 feet.
The consolation prize is his first trip to the Tour championship.
“That was the biggest goal of the year,” Stallings said. “Better late than never.”
Stallings was not alone. Adam Scott makes his way back to East Lake. He was ranked 77th in the FedEx Cup when the postseason began, and a tie for fifth place last week put him in 45th place.
Scott made an eagle on the 12th hole and hit some excellent lag putts on firm, crispy greens in Wilmington for a 71 to earn fifth place.
Scott needed a par on the final hole and hit his tee shot on the edge of a bunker, meaning he had to stand in the sand trying to drive the golf ball out of a sticky first cut at about thigh height. He pulled that into a bunker and then hit a great shot to tap out.
“I think that’s the beauty of the FedEx Cup Playoffs the way they are. You can scrape a lot all year long and have a good few weeks and be heavily rewarded by coming to East Lake and being in the top 30 and whatnot, there are perks that come with that,” Scott said.
Aaron Wise had a 73 and earned 30th place. He was among four players to advance into the top 30 and qualify for the Tour championship. The others were Stallings, Scott, Wise and KH Lee, who had a 65 on Sunday to share fifth place.
https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/34437756/patrick-cantlay-wins-another-thriller-bmw-championship-enters-tour-championship-no-2-seed Patrick Cantlay wins another thriller at BMW Championship; enters Tour Championship as No. 2 seed