SoCal’s Patrick Cantlay Seeks Home Victory at Riviera

Patrick Cantlay: The Genesis Invitational at Riviera CC
Patrick Cantlay walks with his caddie on the 1st hole during the first round of The Genesis Invitational at Riviera CC on Feb 18, 2021 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Photo by Steph Chambers via Getty Images)

Four victories and a FedExCup title was enough for UCLA product Patrick Cantlay to be named 2021 PGA Tour Player of the Year, controversially over Jon Rahm, who had fewer wins, but had 15 top 10s in just 22 starts and a major championship. Regardless, Cantlay was phenomenal over the course of the season.

It appears there will be no 2022 hangover. The 29-year-old six-time Tour winner has not slowed down at all, posting top-10 finishes in all four of his starts in the new season: a runner-up, a solo-fourth, a T4, and a T9. That runner-up came at last week’s WM Phoenix Open, where Cantlay became the man to beat down the stretch of a crowded leaderboard. He missed a 10-foot putt on the 18th that would have put him one clear, but instead he had to watch while Scottie Scheffler missed an even shorter putt on the same hole, leading to a two-man playoff.

Cantlay lost on the third playoff hole when he was unable to convert on a birdie putt after Scheffler sunk a birdie from 25 feet. He may have lost, but at no point did he seem anything other than intensely focused.

“I obviously played really well all week, played solid,” said Cantlay. “Had two rounds with no bogeys on a golf course that I had never seen before, so my game’s in a really good spot.

“Obviously I would have liked to get over the finish line, but I did as best as I possibly could and that was the result and sometimes that’s how it goes.

“I’m really happy for Scottie to get his first win because he’s a great guy and he deserved it, he played great.”

Scottie Scheffler Wins 2022 WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale
Scottie Scheffler reacts after a birdie on the third playoff hole against Patrick Cantlay to win the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on Feb 13, 2022 in Scottsdale, AZ. (Photo by Mike Mulholland via Getty Images)

The Long Beach native will be riding a hot streak into the Genesis Invitational at Riviera, where he has placed well each of the past four years, finishing T4 in the 2019 edition, followed by a T15-T17-T15 stretch over the past three seasons. He is definitely among the top 3-5 players in the field at what he considers his home event.

“It’s a tournament I went to growing up as a little kid with my dad and my grandpa and then played NCAAs here when I was in college at UCLA, my last year there,” continued Cantlay.

“It’s a golf course that I think is one of the best if not the best on Tour, so I love being here this week.”

He continued: “I remember coming to the tournament with my dad and my grandpa and getting stuck in the rain. It was one of those rain-soaked tournaments. It was just tough to get out. I remember we sat in traffic for two, three hours leaving the golf tournament.”

According to Cantlay, Riviera’s old school setup is what separates it from the newer Tour tracks.

“I think it defends par without getting tricked up better than any golf course I’ve ever been to,” explained Cantlay, who has posted four consecutive top 25s at the Riv.

“They rarely grow any rough, there’s basically no rough out there, there’s no water, you only can really hit it out of bounds on the 12th hole and yet 13, 14, 15, 16 under wins pretty much every time.

“They could make it a lot harder if they wanted to, and they give you the first hole as a par-5 with a 3-wood and a 7-iron.

“I think it’s an amazing test of golf.”

Cantlay will be joined by Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka in one of the marquee groupings for the opening two rounds.

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