Posted on: June 17, 2011 5:19 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 5:23 pm

Cantlay can play -- and he proves it at Open

BETHESDA, Md. -- He's already the top player in the NCAA ranks.

On Friday, he accomplished something that precious few amateurs have ever done.

Yet 19-year-old Patrick Cantlay is resolute -- he will not be turning pro until after he graduates with a degree in three years.

Cantlay shot a 4-under 67 in the second round at Congressional, the fifth-best round in Open history by an amateur, which assured him of playing on the weekend.

Cantlay, who has hardly been slowed by an incredibly hectic schedule heading into the Open, looked as cool and collected as any of the professionals in his first major appearance. Not bad for a kid who just finished his freshman year at UCLA.

"Not quite feeling that way inside," he said. "But yeah, for the most part, I felt calm and comfortable out there."

Over the past 11 days, Cantlay has played golf in Oklahoma (at the NCAA finals), Ohio (Open sectional qualifier), Connecticut (Palmer Cup matches against U.K. team) and the District of Columbia.

While in Columbus, he also received the Jack Nicklaus Award as college player of the year. All that said, he didn't have many expectations entering this week.

"I'm just going to try and play the golf course as best I can. It's a great experience," he said. "It's a lot of fun, and I'm just going to try and learn from the other guys and learn from the experience.

"I had some confidence before I came here this week, but yeah, it definitely it makes you feel good about the future, and hopefully one day I can be playing as a pro."

It took a nanosecond before he was asked what his future plans will entail. He didn't hesitate, either.

"To graduate," he said.

Category: Golf
Posted on: June 5, 2011 12:29 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 12:34 pm

UCLA freshman Cantlay takes Nicklaus honor

DUBLIN, Ohio -- As though the younger set wasn't already overrunning the game in the professional ranks, a freshman has won the prestigious Jack Nicklaus Award as the nation's top collegian, it was announced Sunday at the Memorial Tournament.

UCLA's Patrick Cantlay set a school record for lowest scoring average and helped lead his team into the match-play portion of the NCAA finals last week.

"It was a lot of fun, just going out and knowing I could compete, as a freshman," Cantlay said.

He did a lot more than just compete. Cantlay had four victories in his first college season and turned plenty of heads, becoming only the second player to take the Pac-10 honors as top player and best freshman, joining former USC star and Nicklaus Award winner Jamie Lovemark.

Cantlay joins an incredible array of past Nicklaus Award winners, including Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink, Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Luke Donald, Hunter Mahan and Justin Leonard, among other future PGA Tour players.

"You've got some pretty good players out of college who have been here for this award," Nicklaus said. "I'm honored to have my name on it."

Abilene Christian's Alex Carpenter, Chris Morris of Centre, Oscar Stark of Oklahoma Christian and Brand Garon of Meridian Community College were the winners in the other college divisions. Carpenter won the Southern Amateur last year.

Cantlay is the second UCLA player to win the award in the past three years, joining Kevin Chappell, the 2008 Nicklaus winner who is already playing on the PGA Tour and is in the Memorial field this week. Cantlay earlier won the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation's top freshman player.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com