Golf: Back-nine charge powers Cantlay to Zozo Championship win

Golf: Back-nine charge powers Cantlay to Zozo Championship win

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) – American Patrick Cantlay staged a back-nine charge to speed past world No. 2 Jon Rahm and No. 3 Justin Thomas to claim a one-shot win at the Zozo Championship in Thousand Oaks, California on Sunday (Oct 26).

Cantlay, who began the day three back of overnight leader Thomas, carded a final-round seven-under 67 at the Sherwood Country Club to top the leaderboard and 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 on the back nine.

He 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 single stroke and opened the door for Rahm to force a playoff if he could birdie the final hole.

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

Tiger Woods, back in action for the first time since missing the cut at the US Open, closed out a frustrating week with a final-round two-over 74.

He had arrived at one of his favourite venues as the defending Zozo champion but was never in contention after an opening-round 76. Chasing a record 83rd PGA Tour win, he finished near the bottom of the leaderboard, 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. “I feel like I rolled it great.

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

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Woods’ playing partner Phil Mickelson had an even more horrific finish, returning a final-round six-over 78 that included three double-bogeys and left him one spot clear of last on the leaderboard.