by Jeff Skinner
After finishing second at the NCAA Championship the nineteen year old won the Jack Nicklaus Award as College Player of the Year. He also was named Freshman of the Year (Phil Mickelson Award) and he was named Golf Week’s Player of the Year. Quite a first year at college for the kid from Los Alamitos CA, but that was just the start of a magical ride that Cantlay is really enjoying.
He finished as the low amateur at The U.S. Open and tied for 21st. He was that smiling kid standing next to Rory McIlroy at the awards ceremony, pretty cool for sure. If he was a professional he would have earned over $97,000 for his finish. But he says he’s staying in school, for now.
So Cantlay’s magic carpet ride doesn’t stop there. Playing at the Travelers Championship on a sponsor’s exemption the kid just ate up the TPC River Highlands with an amazing 10 under par 60 in the second round and leads the field of professionals by four strokes.
Can it get any better for this kid? Well maybe a little if he is able to hang on and win this thing. The last amateur to win a PGA Tour event was Phil Mickelson in 1991. He had eight birdies and an eagle to set the tournament record.
Afterward he sounded like any kid that is having the time of his life, “It was a lot of fun.”
Asked if Rory McIlroy’s win gave him any inspiration he said yes, “No matter how old you are you can compete.” And he was just awarded another exemption into next week’s A.T.& T. National.
What a wild summer vacation.