Patrick Cantlay dominates Genesis Invitational, holds commanding Riviera lead

Patrick Cantlay has dominated the Genesis Invitational through 36 holes.

His performance thus far has resembled his alma mater’s basketball program from the 1960s and 1970s, when John Wooden was at the helm.

Cantlay followed up his opening round 64 with a spectacular 6-under 65 on Friday at Riviera, as he now has firm control of the tournament. The former UCLA Bruin holds a commanding five-shot lead over Jason Day, Luke List, and MacKenzie Hughes at the midway point of the championship.

“I am putting great and leaving the golf ball in the right spot, which is really key around here,” Cantlay said afterward.

“It’s a golf course I’m really comfortable on, and it’s in the best shape I’ve ever seen. Yeah, it’s been great to play this week.”

Cantlay leads the field in strokes gained putting, and overall strokes gained. He has rolled the ball beautifully, which explains why he has the lead that he does.

Patrick Cantlay, PGA Tour, Genesis Invitational

Patrick Cantlay putts on the first hole during the second round of the 2024 Genesis Invitational.
Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News

But he also has plenty of experience in “Hogan’s Alley.” Cantlay played at Riviera numerous times throughout his collegiate days, even playing in the NCAA Championships there during his sophomore year.

He knows this course inside and out.

“It feels like a home game,” Cantlay added.

His home start began with a bang at the par-5 1st, the easiest hole on the course. Cantlay rolled in a 14-footer for eagle to quickly get to 9-under for the championship.

He then made an impressive par save at the par-3 4th, in the middle of a stretch in which he made six pars in a row.

A birdie followed at the par-4 8th, with another coming at the par-5 11th.

By then, he held a three-shot lead at 11-under.

But his shot of the day came at the par-4 15th, the most challenging hole at Riviera and one of the hardest holes on the PGA Tour overall.

After pulling his drive left of the fairway, Cantlay faced a delicate lie in the Kaikuyu rough and had 214 yards to go. He then launched a 4-iron that bounced on the front of the green and rolled generously towards the hole. It stopped three feet short, which led to Cantlay’s third birdie of the day.

“It was a cut 4-iron, and it just kind of came out of the rough exactly as planned and rolled out, released exactly as planned,” Cantlay said of his shot.

“That doesn’t always happen coming out of the rough, though.”

The former UCLA star went on to birdie the par-5 17th, too.

He completed his second round with zero bogeys. The only bogey he has made thus far came at the 16th hole on Thursday.

With that said, Cantlay knows this tournament is far from over, despite his five-shot advantage.

“We’re half done. Stay in the moment and trust the process that I have,” he explained. “I have a good game plan for this golf course, and I’ll just stick to it.”

Wooden had plenty of solid game plans, too, as he led his teams to 10 national titles between 1963 and 1975.

Even though Cantlay has not yet won a major, he has followed after the legendary UCLA coach this week, tactically executing his game plan around Riviera.

He knows what he has to do over the next 36 holes, but now, it all comes down to execution.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

This post was originally published on this site