For the second day in a row, no one had a better score than Spaniard Jon Rahm in the Tour Championship. That’s fair what he needed to make up ground with American Patrick Cantlay in a chase weekend for 15 million dollars that is exciting and has it to the Chilean Joaquín Niemann last.
Rahm birdied his final three holes on Friday for a 5-under 65. Cantlay birdied his final two holes for a bogey-free 66 to stay one shot ahead.
American Bryson DeChambeau was the next closest player, and his 67 shots (-3) lost ground because he was six behind of the leader.
Cantlay seemed to be protecting an advantage, often playing with the surface of the green. That was more a product of showing respect to an East Lake course that punishes even minor misses on the wrong side of the hole. He hit 16 of 18 greens, and only twice did he hit even putts from less than six feet range.
“I’m playing really well and doing well on the golf course,” said Cantlay, who started the Tour Championship at 10 under par because he was number one in the FedEx Cup standings. Rahm started four shots backward, ranking fourth and receiving six under par.
Cantlay and Rahm played in the final trio, along with DeChambeau, heading into the BMW Championship weekend. Cantlay finished 66-66 and won in a playoff. Rahm closed at 70-70 and tied for ninth place, falling to number four in the final rankings.
That now seems like a long time ago, and with their brilliant performances on Thursday and Friday, at both 65 (-5), everything feels normal.
Cantlay had 17 strokes under par and together with Rahm they will once again be in the final group to fight for the title and the best prize money of the season.
DeChambeau had more work to do, as did American Justin Thomas, who made two bogeys and failed to birdie at par 5 18 in his round of 67 (-3). He was seven behind (-10).
Another American, Harris English, made his share of errors with five bogeys in his round of 69 (-1), depositing him in the big group at 9 under par.
So did his compatriot Jordan Spieth. He was going for his fourth straight birdie to get into the mix, facing a putt of less than three feet on the 13th hole. He made three putts, lost momentum and shot 67 (-3). Spieth, Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (66, -4) and South African Louis Oosthuizen (67, -3) were at 8 under par.
Gone are the low scores from the early FedEx Cup playoff events, at the rain-soaked Liberty Natitonal and Caves Valley, where players on each field had a putt at 59.
Cantlay got a lot of glances at the birdie, and he didn’t hear a lot of “Patty Ice” shouts because not many of those putts were coming in. He got on and off a bunker on par 5. His wedge on 13 swung back an inch from the hole.
Rahm hit an 11-meter putt from the green on 13, returned it with a poor drive to the right on the next hole, and then closed the gap on one shot with a 10-foot birdie on 16.
The Mexican Abraham Ancer was the best classified by finishing with 70 strokes (even) and having accumulated of (-5) with the (-4) that he received at the beginning of the tournament and the 69 (-1) of the first round to occupy the 16th place that he shares with the American Xander Schauffele.
While the Spanish Sergio García signed a card of 70 (pair) to accumulate 138 (-2) and occupy the twentieth place. The Chilean Joaquín Niemann finished with 71 (+1) that left him an accumulated 143 (+2) after subtracting the -1 he received at the entrance of the tournament to be the last of the list of the 30 players who entered the tournament .
The tournament winner will receive a cash prize of $ 15 million.