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Patrick Cantlay’s US Open performance giving him confidence heading into Travelers Championship

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As Rory McIlroy couldn’t figure it out on the Pinehurst No. 2 greens at the U.S. Open on Sunday, his final-round partner Patrick Cantlay was trying to remain in contention for his first major victory of his career. 

Cantlay, the leader after a 4-under first round on Thursday, wasn’t able to add to his lead over the second and third rounds, leaving him chasing the eventual winner, Bryson DeChambeau, on Sunday. And the greens weren’t just unfriendly to McIlroy — the entire field had trouble dealing with Pinehurst all week long.

“It’s definitely unique in that the most challenging part of the golf course is the green complexes,” Cantlay told Fox News Digital ahead of the PGA Tour’s next stop — the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut. “The hole locations were difficult. Late in the day, they’ve had a lot of people walk across the greens, and they’re really fast. Hole locations were on a lot of slope, and so it makes for a challenge when you have those short putts.”

Cantlay finished third at Pinehurst, which is still a fantastic finish despite not being able to hoist the trophy. 

However, Cantlay hasn’t been able to call himself a tournament winner since Aug. 21, 2022 when he took home the BMW Championship. He’s ranked eighth in the World Golf Ranking after his finish last week, 10th in FedEx Cup Rankings and owns three top-10 finishes this season. 

Simply put, Cantlay is one of the best on Tour, and has been for quite some time. Yet, he’s itching to get back in the winner’s circle, and he feels his game is in the right place to do so at a course he’s dominated since he was an amateur. 

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU WINS 124TH US OPEN, DEFEATS RORY MCILROY BY 1 STROKE IN THRILLING FINISH

The Travelers Championship is an event Cantlay looks forward to each year because he knows how to get the job done at TPC River Highlands. 

“Travelers is always one of my favorite events of the year,” he said. “They do such a fantastic job. I think it’s maybe the event I’ve played the most on Tour. I think I’ve played it seven or eight, maybe even nine, times now. Course is in the best shape I’ve seen it. They’ve done some slight tweaks to the golf course that I’ve seen, which I think are going to be improvements. The course is really in fantastic shape, and with the weather, hopefully we don’t have any thunderstorms.”

At the time of writing this article, thunderstorms are in the forecast for Friday and Saturday as a heat wave rolls through the northeast. But rain in Cromwell is something Cantlay has seen in the past, and it worked to his benefit in 2011 when he shot a 60, which remains the lowest score for an amateur in PGA Tour history. At the time, it was also the course record until Jim Furyk broke that with a 58 in 2016.  

Patrick Cantlay reads putt

“My game’s in a good spot,” said Cantlay. “I’m not sure I’ll get the weather to cooperate the year I shot 60. It rained all day the day before — it was actually a rainout on Thursday. So, the golf course was soft and gettable. With the forecast, I’d imagine it’ll play pretty difficult compared to that year and this year. But I feel good about my game, especially last week and looking forward to it.”

Cantlay has finished in the top 15 or better in each of his past six starts at TPC River Highlands, including a tied-fourth finish in last year’s Travelers Championship. 

And after tricky putting surfaces this past week, where he and caddie Joe LaCava may have had trouble reading the greens, Cantlay says he will “draw on the experience and good play” to shoot low. 

While hitting putts, especially those that put a circle on the scorecard, is always the goal on Tour, Cantlay explained how hitting fairways, especially with rain and a long rough, will be crucial to being in contention. 

“I think the rough is fairly long this week, and with the greens being firm, or what I expect to be firm given the forecast, I think it’s going to be important to play from the fairway,” he said. “This golf course this week gives you some chances if you do. I think if I drive the ball well, I should have a chance.”

Patrick Cantlay finishes swing

Despite the result, if last week is any indication of Cantlay’s game heading into this year’s Travelers Championship, he should be among the favorites to walk away with a victory. 

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