weather icon Mostly Cloudy
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Patrick Cantlay shoots 60, shares Shriners lead with Tom Kim

Updated October 8, 2022 - 7:26 pm

Spectators were on 59 watch Saturday at TPC Summerlin.

However, Patrick Cantlay’s bid for golf’s magic number ended when his 21-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole slid by the cup, forcing him to settle for a 60 to match the course record and a share of the lead at the Shriners Children’s Open.

Cantlay made 11 birdies to reach 19 under for the week, a total matched at the end of play when Tom Kim completed a back-nine 30 for a 9-under 62 and a share of the lead.

Sunday’s final round will be a battle between Cantlay, who owns TPC Summerlin in recent years, and Kim, the upstart 20-year-old who had never played a full round on the course until Thursday morning.

They won’t be alone, however, as Saturday showed low scores can come from just about anyone, with 15 players shooting 65 or lower. Matthew NeSmith and Mito Pereira will begin three behind, and defending champion Sungjae Im is four back.

“This course is very, very scorable, so you’ve got to play good golf,” Kim said. “You’ve got to make a lot of birdies. Anyone is in this really. It’s not just me and Patrick. There’s a lot of guys who can still play well and win it.”

Cantlay said he knew what was on the line on No. 18, having started to think about 59 on the 16th hole, but it wasn’t meant to be. After a perfect drive, he had 120 yards in on the finishing hole.

“I hit a big sand wedge and I thought I hit it high enough, and it took a huge bounce when it landed,” he said. “Then the putt probably carried a bit too much speed, and just missed it a little high.”

Had it dropped, it would have been Cantlay’s first 59 anywhere, having never shot the number in a practice round or at his home course, let alone in competition.

“I would have liked to have made it, yeah,” he lamented.

If the putt had fallen, it would have been his longest one of the day. Cantlay piled up 11 birdies by dialing in on his approach shots. He made nothing longer than 12 feet for any of his birdies, and more than half were inside six feet.

“I had a bunch of wedges, and you get a bunch of good numbers, and I was pretty dialed in,” he said. “I hit my numbers a lot better today than I did the first two days.”

And he was dialed in from the start. He birdied his first four holes, hitting within seven feet on every approach, then nearly holed out for his next birdie on No. 6. He made the turn in 29, then added five more on the back.

Kim took a different route, starting slowly and finishing with a flourish. He birdied eight of his final 11 holes, including on the 18th to catch Cantlay when he stuck his approach to 2 feet.

Asked how it feels to shoot 62 and not be the low man in the field, Kim simply shrugged his shoulders.

“That’s how good these guys are, right? That just shows you how good everyone is out here,” said Kim, who on Sunday can become the first player since Tiger Woods in 1996 to win two PGA Tour events before turning 21.

Kim and Cantlay, who has a win, two runner-up finishes and a tie for eighth in his four appearances at the Shriners, won’t be the only challengers Sunday. NeSmith will play with them in the final group. He quietly shot 63 on Saturday while playing in Cantlay’s shadow, and hopes for more of the same Sunday.

“When guys get going like that, it’s nothing but good for the entire group,” he said. “A rising tide rises all ships. I was just happy that we could all play some great golf and kind of ride the wave.”

Pereira also likes his position, pleased to escape Saturday with a 67 without anything close to his best stuff, he said.

Also lurking is Im, who shot a final-round 62 last year to run away from the field. He had a bogey-free 63 on Saturday but said his game wasn’t as sharp as it can be.

“I know it’s really difficult to win back-to-back, but I’ve got one more day,” he said. “Tomorrow I will play better with my wedge shots.”

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.