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Whirlwind Stretch Continues for Cantlay
Calling it a "great couple weeks," Patrick Cantlay's prolonged stretch on the national golf stage this summer is far from over. The 19-year-old sophomore-to-be at UCLA is in the Philadelphia area to play in this week's AT&T National. The $6.2 million PGA Tour event starts Thursday at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa.
After helping the Bruins win four tournaments during their collegiate season and a No. 2 finish in the national rankings behind Oklahoma State, Cantlay won in the match-play portion of the NCAA Championship before UCLA lost to Duke and was eliminated.
Cantlay, currently the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world, received the Phil Mickelson Award after being named the NCAA Freshman of the Year. He then helped the U.S. to a 13-11 win against the Europeans in the Palmer Cup at The Stanwich Club in Connecticut, before moving on to the U.S. Open at Congressional, where he made the cut and became the low amateur, tying for 21st at even-par 284 after rounds of 75-67-70-72.
With the U.S. Open behind him, Cantlay shifted to the PGA Tour's Travelers Championship, where, in the second round, he leaped into the lead after firing a 10-under 60, a score that established a new all-time mark for an amateur in a Tour event. Though he faded on the weekend with rounds of 72 and 70, settling into a tie for 24th at 11-under 269, Cantlay definitely got the attention of the golf world with that 60.
Another PGA Tour sponsor's exemption beckoned this week for Cantlay, who learned golf while growing up and competing against some fine players at Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, Calif.
On the eve of the AT&T National, the teenager sat down with reporters and talked about his busy summer, which isn't over yet. Here's what he had to say to the media at Aronimink.
MODERATOR: We welcome Patrick Cantlay to the media center. Thanks for spending a few minutes with us. Pretty good run I would say the last couple weeks. Why don't you just talk about it and what your plans are for the rest of the summer.
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, it's been a great couple weeks, you know, all the way back to NCAAs. I played well there, and then U.S. won at the Palmer Cup, had a great week at the U.S. Open, it was a lot of fun, and then last week was pretty special. I faded a little bit on the weekend, but it was a good experience, and this week I'm really excited and happy to be here. Very grateful to the tournament for giving me a spot, and I'm looking forward to it. The rest of the summer I have the Western Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and then hopefully the Walker Cup. I have the Southern California Amateur next week at home at San Gabriel Country Club.
Q. Are you taking any time off?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, right after the Southern California Amateur I'm going to take two, three weeks off right before the Western, and then obviously right after the Western I have a couple weeks before the U.S. Amateur, and I think there's some time in between the Amateur and the Walker Cup, and then I think there's some time in between the Walker Cup and school starting at the end of September.
Q. What do you do in your off-time?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I just try and rest a lot. I don't do a whole lot when I'm not playing. Hang out with some friends, go see a movie, but mostly I just stay at home, practice a little bit and rest a lot.
Q. Having been gone for five weeks now, have you had stuff sent from home, extra clothes, anything like that, or just washing the same stuff over and over again?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I've switched out clothes a bunch, so I brought all my UCLA stuff to NCAAs and an outfit for sectional qualifying, sent all that home with some teammates. Then got new clothes at the Palmer Cup to wear. The Palmer Cup gives you clothes. Sent those home, picked up new clothes at the U.S. Open that were sent there, and then I wore those last week, too, and this week.
Q. In these past couple weeks is there any one thing or one stretch of time that will never leave your memory?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, the back nine I played at the U.S. Open Friday was really special for me, and then obviously the 60 I shot last week, I'll remember those two moments forever. But really I'll remember the U.S. Open week the rest of my life. It was really special. And having Jamie on the bag and my family was there, it was just such an awesome experience, my first U.S. Open, my first professional event.
Q. What do you remember about the back nine?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I just played really well. I was maybe 6-over with 10 holes to play, and I think I played my last ten holes 6-under and got myself back into the tournament. I'll just remember the feeling that I had when I walked off the 18th that day.
Q. Is your family here this week?
PATRICK CANTLAY: They finally went home. It's just me and Chris, my caddie, Chris Roth, and my coach Derek Freeman came out today and tomorrow, and then he's going home, and then we'll go home -- I think we've got a flight scheduled Monday.
Q. Any different feel being on your own at a Tour event?
PATRICK CANTLAY: No, same feel. It's just a lot of fun regardless if my mom is here or my dad is here or not. It's great having them with me, but I don't mind being alone, either.
Q. You play a lot of great courses. Where does this rank?
PATRICK CANTLAY: It's up there with some of the best I've played. It's in really good shape. The greens demand your attention out there and the layout is great. I like old-style golf courses like this. The greens are firm and fast right now. I'm sure they'll get firmer and faster. I like it.
Q. Talk about how you kind of measure success. You had a special round at the Open, the 60 last week, but Jamie is so much about long-term. Do you enjoy those things but maybe do you focus on them or kind of forget them; it's last week to you?
PATRICK CANTLAY: No, they're experiences that I'll build on, and you've got to learn something every week you play, whether you win or finish last. So I'll definitely draw on experiences that I've had there for future events and learn from my experiences.
Q. Do you view yourself or your abilities any differently than you did three weeks ago?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I don't think so as far as I'm concerned, but I think it just kind of -- I'm not surprised with the way I played, but it just reaffirmed my belief that I think I can play out here eventually and right now I can compete out here. It just makes me feel good about the future.
Q. Talk about the reception this week from fans compared to the Open where maybe you weren't as well known as you are this week.
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, a little bit, getting asked for autographs and stuff. First time I ever signed an autograph where someone brought my picture up that I signed on my own picture. That was yesterday. That was a little shocking. But other than that, I'm just learning the golf course just like every other week and trying to get real comfortable out there and have a good week.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.
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