Patrick Cantlay takes Zozo Championship after late ambush

American pips Rahm and Thomas by one stroke, Rory McIlroy closes with a 66

Patrick Cantlay with the trophy after inning the Zozo Championship. Photograph: Etienne Laurent/EPA

Patrick Cantlay with the trophy after inning the Zozo Championship. Photograph: Etienne Laurent/EPA

 

American Patrick Cantlay unleashed a late surge of four birdies in five back nine holes to steal a one-shot victory at the Zozo Championship in California on Sunday.

Starting the day three shots off the lead, Cantlay was among several players to make the most of good conditions on the front nine, carding five birdies against one bogey to turn in four-under 36.

But as leading pair Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm — ranked third and second in the world — stagnated on the back nine, Cantlay clicked into gear with four birdies between the 11th and 15th to grab the lead.

A bogey six from Cantlay on the long 16th gave Thomas and Rahm hope, but the 28-year-old clinically parred the final two holes to complete a seven-under 65 for the win at 23-under for the tournament.

Meanwhile Rory McIlroy saved his best round of the week until last, as he signed off with a 66 which saw him finish in a share of 17th place, on 15 under par.

McIlroy was left to rue his slow start on Thursday - he opened with a 73 - as subsequent efforts of 66, 66 and his closing round moved him up the leaderboard and within eight strokes of the overall winner Cantlay.

Afterwards, Cantlay said: “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 said.

Thomas played steady golf, with four birdies and one bogey amid a three-under 69, but was outstripped by Cantlay’s finishing burst.

Thomas ended tied for second with Rahm, who was well poised after five birdies through an unblemished first 11 holes before successive bogeys on 12 and 13, en route to a four-under 68.

Collated final round scores & totals in the USPGA Tour ZOZO Championship (USA unless stated, par 72):

265 Patrick Cantlay 67 65 68 65

266 Justin Thomas 65 65 67 69, Jon Rahm (Spa) 68 67 63 68

269 Cameron Smith (Aus) 67 69 66 67, Ryan Palmer 69 65 66 69, Russell Henley 68 72 63 66, Bubba Watson 70 63 68 68

270 Joel Dahmen 68 70 65 67, Cameron Champ 70 68 65 67, Corey Conners (Can) 69 67 68 66

271 Tony Finau 69 64 69 69, Lanto Griffin 66 65 68 72, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 66 65 70 70

272 Sebastian Munoz (Col) 64 70 66 72, Kevin Kisner 66 67 73 66, Patrick Reed 70 63 71 68

273 Jason Kokrak 69 65 69 70, Xander Schauffele 69 72 67 65, Alex Noren (Swe) 67 68 68 70, Webb Simpson 69 65 67 72, Daniel Berger 69 68 69 67, Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 73 67 67 66, Scottie Scheffler 67 65 69 72, Justin Rose (Eng) 67 67 72 67, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 70 66 68 69

274 Brian Harman 66 68 67 73, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 69 65 67 73

275 Kevin Na 70 65 69 71, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 70 71 68 66, Shaun Norris (Rsa) 68 73 67 67, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 65 68 76 66, Tyler Duncan 68 68 72 67, Kevin Streelman 74 67 70 64, Harris English 66 67 72 70

276 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 68 66 70 72, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 67 66 77 66, Talor Gooch 74 63 71 68, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 74 68 67 67, Paul Casey (Eng) 69 71 69 67, Carlos Oritz (Mex) 72 65 68 71

277 Mark Hubbard 67 70 71 69, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 67 72 68 70, Sungjae Im (Kor) 68 68 69 72, Takumi Kanaya (a) (Jpn) 70 67 68 72, Brad Kennedy (Aus) 72 67 66 72, Jordan Spieth 70 66 74 67

278 Brendon Todd 69 69 70 70, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 71 64 71 72, Tom Hoge 71 70 69 68

279 Matthew Wolff 69 69 75 66, Andrew Landry 69 67 70 73, Collin Morikawa 71 65 72 71, Jim Herman 70 65 72 72

280 Harry Higgs 73 66 73 68, Matt Kuchar 70 69 70 71, Gunn Charoenkul (Tha) 73 67 69 71

281 Richy Werenski 72 61 72 76, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 70 68 74 69, Rickie Fowler 71 67 73 70

282 Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 73 66 70 73, Jason Day (Aus) 68 71 69 74, Chan Kim 69 73 67 73

283 Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn) 73 66 70 74, Adam Hadwin (Can) 75 67 70 71, Nick Taylor (Can) 70 68 71 74

284 Shugo Imahira (Jpn) 75 64 69 76, Mikumu Horikawa (Jpn) 74 74 69 67, Adam Long 77 72 66 69

285 Billy Horschel 72 67 73 73

286 Brendan Steele 72 70 68 76, Marc Leishman (Aus) 71 73 72 70

287 Danny Lee (Nzl) 72 76 70 69, Tiger Woods 76 66 71 74, Rikuya Hoshino (Jpn) 68 70 75 74

289 Naoki Sekito (Jpn) 71 80 68 70

291 Phil Mickelson 72 74 67 78

294 Michael Thompson 76 73 72 73

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