Seventeen days until the Masters! Hang in there, friends.

Patrick the Lionheart

Going into the final round at the Zozo Championship, the stage was set for a duel between Nos. 2 and 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas. But it was world No. 9 Patrick Cantlay who seized the moment on Sunday at Sherwood Country Club. Starting two shots behind Rahm and three behind Thomas, Cantlay reeled off nine birdies en route to a 65 and a one-stroke win. Rahm and Thomas finished tied for second. Results

As top-10 players go, Patrick Cantlay flies under the radar. Neither his game nor his personality is particularly flashy. But he is as consistent and well-rounded as any golfer in the world today. The Zozo Championship is his third career PGA Tour victory, and all three of those wins have come between late 2017 and now. In his past 20 starts, Cantlay has had 11 top-20 finishes and only one missed cut. He has also made a habit of posting elite numbers in almost every strokes gained category. Lately, his putter has been a bit shaky, but he apparently figured something out on Sherwood’s bentgrass, holing 110 feet of putts on Sunday.

All of this is to say that nearly everyone else in the OWGR top 10 gets more press, but Patrick Cantlay is looking like a tough guy to bet against at the November Masters.

Grist for the content mill

Speaking of misallocated public attention, Bryson DeChambeau made the aggregators very happy on Friday when he posted some fresh launch-monitor digits to his Instagram story. Carry distance: 403.1 yards. Ball speed: 211.0 mph. Caption: “First time over 400 yards. Carry… Not even the 48inch [sic] driver.”

As Brentley Romine of (soon-to-be defunct!) pointed out, Bryson’s mighty blast appeared to be wind-setting-aided. Still, you don’t need us to tell you that 403 and 211 are stout numbers—ones that may even catch the eye of Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley. DeChambeau has insisted from the beginning of his “Journey to 215 mph” that he will relentlessly push the limits of what his ever-expanding body and golf’s ever-improving technology can do. Don’t be surprised to see more and more of his competitors follow suit.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour and the equipment manufacturers are loving every minute. Hard to see how enough will ever be enough.

Zozo odds and ends

Two players who remember when the best golf balls had liquid cores, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, languished near the bottom of the leaderboard all week. But hey, at least they got to hang out on Sunday. The third wheel in their group was Adam Long, who 1) fired off a funny tweet about the situation, 2) topped a 3-wood in front of the legends, and 3) beat both of them in the final round.

Tiger Woods was at the Zozo Championship this week, but the Golf Channel’s popular Tiger Tracker was conspicuously not. Is this a result of the current upheaval at the TV network? Probably. But no one has said anything on the record about it. Full Story from Geoff Shackelford

An in-form Patrick Reed had a decent week (T-14), but a certain Twitter account was not pleased with the alleged preponderance of pins that favored a left-to-right ball flight at Sherwood on Sunday. Reed, of course, likes to work it right to left. Follow the money, Justine.

Highly touted rookie Takumi Kanaya ended up in the middle of the pack (T-41) at the Zozo Championship.

Rory McIlroy opted for a hoodie in chilly conditions on Sunday. Sensible.

If 400-yard dingers are going to save golf, why is it so much more fun to watch JT clip a bladed iron off a cart path?

Quick Hooks

On her 28th birthday, Ally McDonald edged Danielle Kang to win the LPGA Drive On Championship at Reynolds Lake Oconee. McDonald has played full-time on the LPGA Tour since 2017, but this is her first professional win. Kang, after her runner-up this week, now has four top fives since the LPGA’s restart in late July. Results

Finishing in third place at the LPGA Drive On Championship was Bianca Pagdanganan, a 22-year-old who turned pro earlier this year and hits the cover off the ball. She leads the LPGA Tour in driving distance at 288 yards (six yards longer than No. 2 Maria Fassi), and two weeks ago she finished T-9 in the Women’s PGA Championship. Now she’s being called “the future of the women’s game.”

Eleven years after his first European Tour victory, Englishman Ross McGowan avoided getting tangled in the power lines at the Italian Open and beat Laurie Canter and Nicolas Colsaerts by one shot. Results

Several top college programs will vie for the East Lake Cup Monday through Wednesday. The action will be on Golf Channel. Full Preview from Tim Schmitt.

Tony Finau is feeling better after a bout with Covid-19, but the experience gave him greater respect for the virus. Full Story from Bob Harig

In related news, Phil Mickelson appears to be walking back his comments on the risks of the upcoming Houston Open allowing fans on the grounds.

Bryson is low-hanging fruit these days, but we’re here for Joel Dahmen spoofing the big man’s pompous Instagram videos.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Shotgun Start: Legends of the Waterfalls, Bryson’s spikes, and Ross for Less

It’s Victory Monday at the Shotgun Start and Brendan provides a short riposte after a weekend of attacks on his rotisserie chicken comments before celebrating a ride on the Baker rollercoaster. The golf talk starts with the Italian Open, where 38-going-on-58 Ross McGowan slapped it all over the place (and around the power lines) but managed to sneak out a win some 11 years after his first Euro Tour title. Then they transition to the LPGA, which leads to a short side discussion on pontoon boats or “tooning” as Andy calls it, and Ally McDonald’s first win at Great Waters. Finally, there’s the Zozo Championship. They discuss Patrick Cantlay’s great final round, the design thought that goes into how many waterfalls you should put on a hole and why you’d stop at 14, the maintenance of said waterfalls and pools, the Geronimo Hex on shaky JT, Phil’s game not traveling down from the senior circuit, and Tiger’s disconcerting tee-to-green game. In news, they hit on Bryson carrying the ball 400 yards and the Champions Dinner being on for this year. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

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