Cantlay Moves on After U.S. Amateur Loss

Though he didn't win, Patrick Cantlay had another fine tournament this past weekend, one of many the 19-year-old UCLA student has enjoyed this year. On Sunday Kelly Kraft of Texas beat him 2-up in the 36-hole championship match of the U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.

But what a 2011 it's been for Cantlay. The Los Alamitos, Calif., resident was named the 2011 NCAA Division I Player and Freshman of the Year after leading the Bruins to four wins. He was also named the Pac-10's Player and Freshman of the year.

In addition to his collegiate and amateur exploits, Cantlay has had remarkable success while competing against the best professionals in the world. After becoming one of only three amateurs to make the weekend cut, he had rounds of 70 and 72 over the weekend at Congressional Country Club to finish as the low amateur - at even-par 284, good for T21 - at the U.S. Open. Cantlay's 5-under 30 on the back nine during his second round 67 was the best of the championship.

He then really grabbed the golf world's attention in late June after firing a 10-under 60 in the second round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., where he eventually ended up tied for 24th at 11-under 269.

The very next week in the AT&T National at Aronomink Golf Club near Philadelphia, Cantlay posted rounds of 70, 69, 71 and 67 to finish T20 at 3-under 277. And then in the Canadian Open at a very tough Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club in Vancouver, the youngster ended up in the top 10, tying for ninth at even-par 280 alongside such major winners as 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and John Daly. Over the weekend, Cantlay closed with a pair of under-par rounds of 68 and 69.

Despite his consistent fine showings this year, Cantlay revealed after his loss to Kraft that he was a bit disappointed not to pull off a win in the U.S. Amateur. "I felt like I left some strokes out there," said Cantlay, who was a semifinalist in the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay near Tacoma, Wash. "I didn't hit it the way I wanted to in the morning."

But later on, Cantlay admitted he did pretty well. "(It's) hard not to think about what just happened, but yeah, overall it was a good week. I played solid."

Here's what else the top-ranked amateur golfer in the world - an early selection on the 2011 USA Walker Cup team - had to tell reporters Sunday evening after the awards ceremony in which Kraft received the Havemayer Trophy.

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Patrick Cantlay, runner up for the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship. Patrick, obviously not the way you wanted it to go, but if you could maybe try to give us a hint of what you thought was the key stretch and then walk us through that.

PATRICK CANTLAY: Obviously 15 and 16. I made back-to- back-to-back-to-back mental mistakes out there, and combine that with some poor physical shots, and I threw away the golf tournament on 15 and 16 and wasn't able to recover on 17 or 18.

MODERATOR: When you were down 2 through 18, what did you think about? What did you say was going to be your game plan for the second 18 holes?

PATRICK CANTLAY: I was just going to go out with the same game plan I had in the morning. I felt fine about it. I felt comfortable with my game. I felt like I left some strokes out there. I didn't hit it the way I wanted to in the morning, and I got off to a much better start in the afternoon.

MODERATOR: Was it more mistakes by you, do you think, than it was the way Kelly played out there?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Kelly played -- you know, he played solid all day. Obviously I had the 1-up lead going into the last four holes, and I made -- I mean I made a 5 on a 250-yard par-4, par-3, whatever you want to call it. So you know, obviously he played better than me, but I feel like I threw away the golf tournament, yeah.

MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Patrick, a couple times during the course of the tournament you kind of made a turn, it was like a turning point on 17. You even did it this morning. You were down four holes and you made it to 2. Did you feel that you had another comeback in you going into 17?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Obviously I had a positive frame of mind going into 17, 18, just based on my play earlier this week. I hit a good drive. I hit a really nice second shot. It was a little too far. I hit a good putt, just didn't fall.

Q. Patrick, could you talk about your decision to hit 8-iron on 15? Can you talk about that?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah. First of all, I pulled it 15 yards, or 20 yards. I wasn't trying to hit it there. I was in between hybrid and 3-wood if I wanted to go for the green. I felt like my best opportunity was to spin a wedge to the back hole location, so I decided to lay up. And I figured 8-iron would be short of the bunkers, but not when you pull hook your 8-iron, it gets a big bounce, went in the bunker. That was that.

Q. Patrick, if you could just talk about your decision to go with the putter on the morning round at 17 when you were 4 down. That birdie there seemed to start your comeback into the afternoon session.

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah. It was a little skinny lie. I figured the putter was the best opportunity to get it close.

Q. How much were you thinking about 15 that you hit this morning where you pulled it way left, how much were you thinking about that shot when you stepped back onto 15 this afternoon?

PATRICK CANTLAY: I wasn't thinking about it so much. The wind was a little different. Instead of a little down this morning, it was a little into this afternoon, so like I said, I was in between clubs, and you know, that didn't push me one way or the other. I just thought that the shot I picked was the right one.

Q. The three-putt on 16, was that just being too aggressive or what happened on that putt, first putt?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah. I obviously hit it way too hard. It's spilled out of there really quick, like it kind of jumped off the fringe and really took off. But yeah, I hit it a little too hard. You know, just misjudged it, to be honest. It was not like it was -- it was a very particular spot.

Q. All things being equal, can you just maybe assess the week as a whole, disappointing I'm sure for today, but a lot of good things along the way, some great comebacks.

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah. Good week. Hard not to think about what just happened, but yeah, overall it was a good week. I played solid.

Q. Could you just add, just getting here after some really hard matches in which you were down twice at 17? I mean I think there was some resourcefulness there that you probably could take away from that; right?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah. Definitely. I had some tough opponents, and I had some guys play really well against me, and fortunately I was able to squeak past them.

Q. Does mental or physical fatigue come into play the final few holes?

PATRICK CANTLAY: I don't think so. I was hydrated, and I -- you know, I ate all day, so I felt fine physically. Mentally I just -- you know, I made some mistakes.

Q. Patrick, could you talk about the 18th hole, how difficult it plays, especially with the pin position they had out there today?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah. It's a really tough hole. I'm curious to know if there's ever been a par 5 play that long. I'm sure there's been some close. It's long, you gotta hit it straight. Yeah, it's a very tough hole. There's not a lot of space to lay it up to and there's not a lot of space to access that pin location.

Q. Obviously with the Walker Cup in the a couple weeks, what else can you kind of take away from your play this week moving forward into the Walker Cup and then college season this fall and even the spring?

PATRICK CANTLAY: I went 5 & 1 this week. I think that's not too bad. Going into Walker Cup I feel confident about my game and feel really good about the team we have.

Q. Overall, the par 3s weren't kind to you this week or the last couple matches anyway. Were you between clubs on a lot of those par 3s or didn't execute the way you wanted or how would you explain it?

PATRICK CANTLAY: Which holes -- I mean yeah, I guess. I hit -- I mean I three-putted 16, so that wasn't in between clubs. I hit a pretty decent shot in there. 13, I was a little in between clubs there, but I pull hooked an 8-iron. So yeah, I guess. I mean I felt fine. I parred what is it, six or whatever. I won nine in my afternoon, so I didn't feel too weird on the par-3.

Q. Can you talk about Kelly's play today? Is there something in particular about his play at all that impressed you?

PATRICK CANTLAY: He played solid, rolled it well, struck it solid, good short game.

Q. What were your general impressions of the tournament here? To be one of the last two standing out of more than 6500 people signed up to play. You're one of the last two standing. Is there anything you can kind of hang your hat on in that regard that you were one of the last two standing?

PATRICK CANTLAY: I suppose, yeah. I mean I played well this week overall. You don't come to a golf tournament to finish second.

MODERATOR: Any more questions for Patrick?

Q. Patrick, it's probably far too early to even talk about this, but can you at least kind of put in perspective what this summer has meant to you? You've accomplished a lot of great things.

PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah. It's meant a lot. I'm only going to take positives from it looking forward. It's been a lot of fun.

MODERATOR: Okay, folks? Thank you, Patrick. Congratulations on a great week.


The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.