by Jeff Skinner
Patrick Cantlay had been living the summer of his dreams. Heck, he was having a summer that few golfers, old or young, amateur or professional ever have. The 19 year old has had a busy few months: Top Amateur in the country, Jack Nicklaus College Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, low amateur at The U.S. Open and The Canadian Open, shot a 60 at The Travelers and of course was low amateur at the AT&T National. But his luck ran out on Sunday.
Kelly Kraft was able to do what no one else could do at The U.S. Amateur, he beat Patrick Cantlay. In an up and down 36 hole final Kraft hung tough to claim a 2 up win over the summer sensation. Kraft was four up during the first 18 holes but Cantlay battled back to just two down at the start of the final 18.
From there Kraft did his best to hold off Cantlay but Kraft lost his lead when Cantlay went 1 up at the 10th hole. Cantlay had the lead as late as the 14th hole but bogeys at 15 and 16 dropped him to one down and Kraft closed the door after that.
Kraft, 22, is from Denton Texas and attends SMU. He has used up all his college eligibility so he is contemplating his decision to turn professional. He has earned trips to Augusta, The Open Championship and next year’s U.S. Open, all if he remains an amateur. But one thing is for sure, he’ll be teaming up with Cantlay and the best amateurs in the country at The Walker Cup in Scotland.
He was told that he made the team immediately after his win while he was still on the green at Erin Hills. “(USA Team Captain) Jim Holtgrieve walked up to me on the green and told me, ‘See ya in Scotland.’ And I was like, ‘Wow.’ I didn’t know what to say. I just won the tournament and then they told me this. I about had a heart attack.”