Tue, 30 May 2023

Patrick Cantlay clings to 36-hole lead at The American Express

Field Level Media
22 Jan 2022, 11:40 GMT+10

Patrick Cantlay survived two bogeys over his final nine holes, carded a 4-under 68 and held a one-stroke lead at The American Express in La Quinta, Calif. on Friday.

The reigning FedEx Cup champion moved to 14 under for the week, leading Tom Hoge by a shot. A five-way tie for third at 12 under includes Will Zalatoris, who fired an 11-under 61.

Golfers at The American Express will play one round at three different courses -- La Quinta Country Club, the PGA West Stadium Course and the PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course -- before the final round returns to the Stadium Course following a 54-hole cut.

Following his opening-round 62 at La Quinta Country Club, Cantlay played the Nicklaus Tournament Course on Friday, making six birdies and two bogeys, including a three-putt at No. 8, a rarity for the talented putter.

"I actually putted really well today and made nothing," Cantlay said. "The greens were a little beat up and it was hard to make putts. But I rolled it really well and I rolled it how I wanted to, I just didn't get any to go in."

Now Cantlay must play his final two rounds on the Stadium Course, considered the most challenging of the three. In last year's edition of the event, Cantlay carded an 11-under 61 in the final round to finish in second.

"It's a golf course that suits my game," Cantlay said. "We'll see how it plays tomorrow with the increased wind and if you drive the ball in the fairway, you get a lot of chances."

Hoge toured the Stadium Course for his second round and posted a bogey-free, 6-under 66 Friday to move into second place. Hoge has 13 birdies and no bogeys to his name after two days.

"I've driven it well and I've just given myself a lot of looks, which I think is key around here," Hoge said. "It's such a shoot-out here every year, you just got to keep making birdies. So just try to keep hitting good iron shots in there and have a look on every hole."

Hoge, 32, has yet to win on the PGA Tour and is currently ranked No. 115 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Zalatoris, the 2021 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, matched his career-low round of 61 set earlier this season at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Starting on the back nine at the Nicklaus Tournament Course, Zalatoris made the turn in 32 before rattling off birdies on his final seven holes for a 29.

He wrapped up with a birdie on the par-4 ninth hole despite hitting a wayward tee shot that ended up in an adjacent fairway.

"I was just hoping it wasn't in the bushes and I ended up having a pretty decent angle and a great lie," Zalatoris said. "My caddie gave me a good number and he said, 'Hey, let's hit a golf shot and let's try and get out of here with a 4,' and the (birdie) putt lipped in."

Tied with Zalatoris at 12 under are Lanto Griffin (65, Stadium Course), Greyson Sigg (67, Stadium Course), Cameron Young (68, Nicklaus Tournament Course) and Joseph Bramlett (67, La Quinta C.C.).

World No. 1 Jon Rahm of Spain posted a quiet 2-under 70 at the Nicklaus Tournament Course, tying him for 32nd at 8 under. Phil Mickelson is 155th in the 156-man field (7 over) following a 73 at Nicklaus.

--Field Level Media

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