By Sean Martin
ERIN, WISC. (Aug. 27, 2011). – Patrick
Cantlay will try Sunday to match the feat
his mentor, John Cook: Winning the U.S.
Amateur, a feat Cook accomplished in
Cantlay will face Kelly Kraft in the U.S.
Amateur’s 36-hole final Sunday.
Cook is known for his ability to control
golf ball’s trajectory and distance.
He’s passed much of that knowledge on
to Cantlay, so it’s no surprise that the
19-year-old has continued to progress
the match-play bracket on a course
that’s playing firmer and faster as the
week goes on. He beat Jordan Russell, 4
in Saturday’s semifinals and now will try
to become the second consecutive No. 1
amateur to win the Havemeyer Trophy.
Uihlein was No. 1 in the world when he
last year at Chambers Bay.
“I like when it’s firm and
fast,” said Cantlay, who advanced to
the semifinals of last year’s Amateur on
a Chambers Bay course that made Erin
look saturated by comparison. “I just
think you have to have so much more feel,
you have to leave yourself in the right spot
it rewards knowing where you want to hit it
and controlling your golf ball.”
Cantlay is trying to cap his successful
summer, one where he was made famous
contending in PGA Tour events, with the
biggest amateur title around. The final
will pit Cantlay,who grew up around PGA
players, against Kraft, who didn’t start
playing until middle school and grew up on
executive course. Both players are
to earn invitations to the 2012 Masters,
are exempt into the U.S. Open.
Cantlay finished in the top 25 in four
consecutive PGA Tour events this summer,
earning low-amateur honors at the U.S.
shooting 60 at the Travelers Championship
finishing ninth at the Canadian Open. Kraft
the Texas and Trans-Miss amateurs this
“We’re both playing the same
golf course tomorrow, and we’ve both
made it this far, so we’re both playing
pretty good,” Kraft said. “I like
my chances out there.”
Cantlay was locked in a seesaw tilt
Russell on Saturday, but finally took
the match on the back nine.
Cantlay and Russell didn’t halve a
hole until they both parred the ninth. The
match’s only two birdies came from
Cantlay on par-5s. He got up-and-down
off the green both times. The rest of the
were won with pars, except the 487-yard,
4 eighth, which played into the wind.
won with bogey.
Cantlay was 2 up at the turn. He was
when Russell missed a 6-foot par putt on
par-4 11th. It was the seventh time either
Cantlay or Russell won a hole with par or
worse. Cantlay closed out the match in
though. He two-putted for birdie the par-5
14th, then stuffed a wedge close at the
15th to match Russell’s birdie.
“Once Patrick got the momentum,
he just played like he always does,”
Russell said. “He did a really good job of
just playing consistent. He just played
solid and closed it out like he should
Kraft beat England’s Jack Senior, a
member of the Great Britain & Ireland
Walker Cup team, 3 and 2, in the
Kraft lost the first hole with a bogey on
first hole, but then won three of the next
to go 2 up. He never trailed the rest of the
match. He was just 1 up after bogeying the
par-3 ninth, but won the next two holes.
parred the 524-yard, par-4 10th and birdied
the 11th with a 10-foot birdie putt.
Kraft, who has exhausted his eligibility
SMU, stayed amateur with hopes of making
this year’s Walker Cup team. A victory
Sunday would guarantee him a spot.
He’ll have to beat the world’s
top amateur to do that, though.