2020 Zozo Championship leaderboard, grades: Patrick Cantlay outlasts favorites for win in California

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Patrick Cantlay is a thief. With Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas the heavy favorites going into the final round of the Zozo Championship on Sunday, Cantlay shot a 65 from a few groups out ahead of them and stole the event on a day where neither of them could truly get going.

Cantlay was terrific in every aspect throughout the week at Sherwood Country Club, but his putter carried him on Sunday as he made nine birdies, with three of them coming from 15 feet (!) or longer. After going out in 32 on the front nine, Cantlay birdied four of the first six on the back nine to take over a lead Rahm and Thomas threw away. Cantlay stumbled a bit over the final three, making a bad bogey from the middle of the fairway on No. 16 and two pars late, but it was enough to clip Rahm and Thomas by a stroke.

The story of Sunday was as much about them as it was about Cantlay. Rahm played the back nine in level par and made a ghastly bogey on the par-5 13th from 225 yards away after his drive. J.T. played his last 12 holes in level par, and it was a minor miracle that he scored that well given how he hit it. Despite shooting a combined 7 under, neither will be pleased with how they closed.

Cantlay, on the other hand, will be. He's had a pretty mediocre last few months with just one top 10 since the Memorial Tournament in the middle of July. This week, though, he was the best putter of the handful of best ball-strikers in the field (Cantlay finished third from tee to green) and needed a tournament-low (for him) 24 putts on Sunday for the victory.

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The Zozo win is -- maybe surprisingly -- just the third of his career to go along with a Shriners Hospitals for Open victory and a Memorial victory a few years ago. Interestingly, Rahm is a decent comparison for Cantlay when it comes to PGA Tour wins. Both have three in fewer than 90 starts throughout their careers, and both will be tough outs when it comes to the Masters next month.

Rahm has a pair of top 10s there over the course of his young career, and Cantlay scared the lead last year on Sunday before Tiger Woods closed out the 15th major championship of his career. While winning the Zozo is a big deal for Cantlay -- this field was absolutely loaded, and he shot 65 when it counted -- it will also give him a nice boost going to that other massive event to close out the year. Grade: A+

Justin Thomas (T2): It was a bonkers back nine for J.T. He saved par and bogey from some truly ridiculous spots before finally succumbing on the 71st hole. He was pretty lousy off the tee when he needed it on Sunday, and it cost him what probably should have been a win given how well he putted it. He's always a show to the very end, though. Knowing he needed to hole out on the final hole to win, he hit it to 4 feet and reacted as if he was trying to make it (which he undoubtedly was). Grade: A-

Bubba Watson (T4): That's back-to-back top-10 finishes for Watson, who has an event he normally plays pretty well at on deck. Watson finished fifth from tee to green, and along with my one-and-done guy Russell Henley as well as Scottie Scheffler, did not putt the ball well at all. He's the ultimate feast-or-famine player, but he's worth keeping an eye on for the 2020 Masters. 

Rory McIlroy (T17): He was never a factor in this week's event, but his work over the last two rounds was interesting. He gained eight strokes from tee to green and hit his irons as well as he has since the restart. It was meaningless in regards to the Zozo, but it might be very meaningful come the final major of the year in a few weeks. He also made a career-high 29 birdies on the week. I'm going to guess if he does that at Augusta National, he'll be rocking a green jacket over his hoodie. Grade: B

Live updates
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@JustinRayGolf via Twitter
October 25, 2020, 11:53 PM

JT just made a world-class 5 on No. 16, but he needed a 3 or a 4. Rahm made birdie to get within one of Cantlay.

October 25, 2020, 11:43 PM
@JustinRayGolf via Twitter
October 25, 2020, 11:24 PM
@JustinRayGolf via Twitter
October 25, 2020, 11:23 PM

Here's a look.

screen-shot-2020-10-25-at-6-17-32-pm.png
October 25, 2020, 11:23 PM

Adam Long shot -2 and beat two all-timers.

October 25, 2020, 11:22 PM

JT just made a 4 at No. 15 but Cantlay has a long par putt on 16. Things are heating up!

October 25, 2020, 11:18 PM

Cantlay ties Rahm and JT with six holes to go. He might steal this, which would be pretty incredible. Rahm and JT have been messy over the last few holes.

October 25, 2020, 10:32 PM

Three 5s in Tiger's last four holes. He's not really closing all that well and leaving no real reason for optimism for the Masters.

October 25, 2020, 10:25 PM

Rahm leads at -23 as JT makes par at the par-5 11th hole after a bad tee shot. Next seven holes should be an absolute blast.

October 25, 2020, 10:03 PM
@KylePorterCBS via Twitter
October 25, 2020, 9:53 PM

Last year Tiger beat everyone in this field. This year Tiger is beating just four golfers in this field. Currently -1 thru 11 holes.

October 25, 2020, 9:46 PM

Sweet shot by Rahm on the 9th for a birdie to tie it. Back nine between JT and Rahm should rock. Get to Golf Channel if you can.

October 25, 2020, 9:15 PM

Dan Hicks says this is the 38th time Tiger and Phil have played together. They are currently a combined +2 on the week.

October 25, 2020, 9:05 PM
@JustinRayGolf via Twitter
October 25, 2020, 8:41 PM

Thru 5 holes, JT is -21, up one on Cantlay and Rahm. Probably going to come down to those three.

October 25, 2020, 8:24 PM

Russell Henley is my one-and-done pick this week, and he's rolling into the top five at the moment. I'll be hanging on every shot coming down the stretch.

October 25, 2020, 8:19 PM

Rory is -6 thru 13 holes and into the top 20 on the leaderboard. Meaningless for this week, but he's been lights out with his iron play over the last two days. Keep that in mind heading to Augusta.

October 25, 2020, 8:10 PM
@JustinRayGolf via Twitter
October 25, 2020, 8:10 PM
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