Patrick Cantlay’s awful bogey on 17 opens Genesis Invitational door

Through 52 holes, Patrick Cantlay had firm control of the Genesis Invitational.

He held a three-shot lead over Xander Schauffele and Will Zalatoris when he arrived at the 17th tee, a straightaway par-5. Another birdie opportunity awaited as the penultimate hole at Riviera has been the third easiest this week.

As such, Cantlay had a chance to increase his margin heading into Sunday’s final round. But his drive on the 17th found the sand trap to the right of the fairway, which Playing Through referenced as an area to avoid.

That led to a layup, as his second shot settled 130 yards short of the green in the fairway. Despite the poor tee shot, Cantlay still had a chance at making birdie. With a wedge in his hand, he is usually lethal. But this time around, he came up short.

His third shot spun off the front of the green and stopped about 15 yards short of the putting surface. Not great. But an easy up-and-down will save par.

However, he hit a very poor chip from there and failed to make the 14-footer, logging a bogey six.

Patrick Cantlay, PGA Tour, The Genesis Invitational

Patrick Cantlay during the third round of the 2024 Genesis Invitational.
Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

Just like that, his lead dwindled to two.

Cantlay’s stumble at 17 came at a significant cost, especially considering that nearly every other player in contention made birdie or better. Schauffele, Zalatoris, Luke List, J.T. Poston, Hideki Matsuyama, and Corey Conners all made birdie. Jason Day even made an eagle, rolling in a 21-footer to get to double-digits under par.

Of the top nine players on the leaderboard, only Cantlay and Harris English did not take advantage of 17—and English made a par.

Cantlay essentially dropped two shots on 17, as his bogey opened up the door for plenty of other players at Riviera.

Despite that, he shot a 1-under 70 on Saturday, as he is at 14-under through 54 holes.

“I played solid golf today. I didn’t make any long putts or anything,” Cantlay said of his round.

“I didn’t really give myself too many chances, but all in all, I had a solid day and am in a good position for tomorrow.”

Funny enough, Cantlay and Schauffele—two very good friends—will comprise Sunday’s final pairing. The two players practice and hang out together, so it should be a comfortable setting for both.

“We played great at Whistling Straits together, and we played great at the Zurich [Classic] the year that we won [in 2022],” Cantlay said of Schauffele.

“I think we had a round or two that we played really well at the Presidents Cup in Charlotte, too. I think we’re just comfortable playing with each other in those formats, alternate shot and best ball. By now, we’ve played so many matches together that it feels normal.”

Sunday will surely feel normal for Cantlay, the local boy who grew up down the road from Riviera. He has eight PGA Tour victories to his name, with the most recent coming at the 2022 BMW Championship.

But things could quickly become uncomfortable if he replicates the mistake he made at 17 on Sunday. He will need to take advantage of Riviera’s benign par-5s, or else somebody else could pass him on by.

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.

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