Cantlay charges on back nine to win Zozo Championship

© Reuters. PGA: Zozo Championship – Final Round


(Reuters) – Patrick Cantlay staged a back-nine charge to speed past world number two Jon Rahm and number three Justin Thomas and claim a one-shot win at the Zozo Championship in Thousand Oaks, California on Sunday.

American Cantlay, who began the day three back of overnight leader Thomas, carded a final round seven-under-par 65 at the Sherwood Country Club to collect his third career PGA Tour title with a winning total of 23-under 265.

The 28-year-old’s round included a career-high nine birdies, four of those coming over a five-hole stretch from the 11th.

“Obviously I started today a few back, but I knew I had to go out and make a bunch of birdies,” said Cantlay. “And today was actually the only day I made a bogey, but offset it with enough birdies.

“I put in a lot of work and try to do the right things all the time, so when it all does come together, it’s really rewarding because it’s all that hard work paying off.”

Cantlay finished the week with just two bogeys, both of those coming during the final round, including one at the 16th that cut his advantage to a stroke and opened the door for Rahm to force a playoff if he could birdie the final hole.

The Spaniard gave himself a chance but grimaced as his 19-foot birdie attempt stopped just short of the cup. He finished with a four-under 68 to tie for second with Thomas, who birdied the 18th for a three-under 69.

Tiger Woods, chasing a record 83rd PGA Tour win and back in action for the first time since missing the cut at the U.S. Open, closed out a frustrating week with a final round two-over 74.

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Woods had arrived at one of his favorite venues as the defending Zozo champion but was never in contention after an opening round 76, finishing near the bottom of the leaderboard and 22 shots behind the winner.

“The only thing I can take out of this week that I did positively I feel like each and every day and pretty much every hole is I putted well,” said Woods.

“Unfortunately … most of them were for pars and a couple for bogeys here and there, but not enough for birdies.”

Woods’ playing partner Phil Mickelson had an even worse final round, carding a six-over 78 that included three double-bogeys and left him last but one.

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