Horse For Course: Patrick Cantlay Opens with 66 at RBC Heritage
A return to Harbour Town could be just what Patrick Cantlay needed to get back on track.
Coming off a disappointing tie for 39th at the Masters, Cantlay opened with a 5-under 66 Thursday to sit just three shots off the early lead at the RBC Heritage.
It’s what we’ve come to expect from Cantlay, who before last year’s missed cut had notched three consecutive top-7 finishes at Harbour Town, two of which went for T-3s. Only twice in 15 career rounds has he shot over par.
“I think there’s some local knowledge to this place,” he said, “so having those good results in the past definitely helps going forward.”
After a strong start to the new year, the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year has been scuffling of late, failing to finish inside the top 25 in each of his past four starts. It’s his worst stretch in nearly a year.
His Masters performance continued a run of underwhelming play in the majors, with the 30-year-old recording just a pair of top-10s in his career.
In his pre-tournament news conference at the Heritage, Cantlay said this year’s Masters (with two days of 25-mph winds) was the most difficult he’d faced at Augusta National, but that he was turning the page.
“I think it’s really important to stay fresh and not live in the past and live in the right here and now,” he said, “and so all my efforts are focused here this week.”
In the opening round at Harbour Town, Cantlay was bogey-free despite hitting just 12 greens. Among the early starters, he was in a logjam in a tie for second place, looking up at Cameron Young’s opening 63.
“It demands you to think and be really precise and leave your ball in the right spots,” Cantlay said. “You don’t necessarily have to hit big, high driving-range shots all day. You kind of work your way around the golf course. That’s what I did today. Hit a lot of nice chips and left my ball in a spot where I could do that.”