Cantlay Shoots 68, Leads Hoge by One Stroke in The American Express

Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay didn’t go as low as he did on the first day but remained on top of the leaderboard. 

Cantlay, the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year and FedEx Cup champion, shot 4-under-par 68 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West in La Quinta to take a one-stroke lead over Tom Hoge in The American Express. 

Each player in the field will play the PGA Tour Stadium Course, the Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Club in the first three rounds before the 54-hole cut is made on Saturday and the final round will be contested solely on the Stadium Course. 

“It was a lot more difficult today with the wind, and the greens were a lot firmer than they were yesterday at La Qunita Country Club,” said Cantlay, who won four times on the PGA Tour last season. “You’ve just got to keep going low out here. I thought 61 in the final round last year was good enough, but Si Woo Kim chipped me by one stroke. 

“I’ve got to keep trying to go low even though I expect it to be difficult on the Stadium Course tomorrow with the winds expected to be 20 miles per hour. It’s a tough golf course and you have to make sure to miss in the right spot all the time. 

“I actually putted pretty well today and made nothing, but I’m in a good position and feel good going to the weekend.” 

Cantlay, who opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club, collected three birdies on each nine against two bogeys in round two and recorded a 36-hole score of 14-under 130 after finishing second in this tournament last year. 

Hoge, looking for his first PGA Tour victory, made three birdies on each nine of the Stadium Course at PGA West in a bogey-free 66. 

“I really felt fortunate that we got through 17 holes without the wind really coming up,” said Hoge, whose only victory as pro came in the 2011 Canadian Tour Players Cup. “Just our last hole there it got gusting. 

“I feel better playing La Quinta (where he will be on Saturday). It’s a little more protected over there in the trees, a little shorter golf course. You can play a little more conservatively off tees and just get it in play and go from there.” 

Will Zalatoris, the 2021 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, birdied the last seven holes while closing his 61 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course and is two shots back in a tie for third with Lanto Griffin, who had a bogey-free 65 on the Stadium Course, Greyson Sigg, who was bogey-free in a 67 on the Stadium Course, Joseph Bramlett of Saratoga and Stanford, who had a 67 at La Quinta CC, and Cameron Young, who finished at 68 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. 

Two-time major champion Zach Johnson posted a 66 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course and is three down in a tie for eighth with Paul Barjon of France, who birdied four straight holes on the back nine a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, Roger Sloan, who had a 67 at La Quinta CC, and Sam Ryder, who totaled 68 at La Quinta CC. 

First-round co-leader Lee Hodges is tied for 12th after a 72 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course, defending champion Si Woo Kim had a second straight 68 on the Nicklaus Course and is tied for 32nd, and tournament host Phil Mickelson, who has won this event twice, shot 73 on the Nicklaus Course and is 155th and next to last in the field. 

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