Cantlay keeps lead in chase for $15 million

Associated Press

Atlanta — For the second day in a row, no one had a better score than Jon Rahm at the Tour Championship. That’s just what he needed to make up ground on Patrick Cantlay going into a weekend chase for $15 million.

Rahm birdied his last three holes Friday for a 5-under 65. Cantlay birdied his last two holes for a bogey-free 66 to keep one shot ahead.

It’s not quite a two-man race for the FedEx Cup with 36 holes still to play at East Lake, though it was shaping up as a possibility. Bryson DeChambeau was the next closest player, and his 67 lost ground Friday. He was six shots behind.

Jon Rahm and Patrick Cantlay during the second round of the Tour Championship golf tournament Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

“We definitely feed off each other,” Rahm said. “And that’s probably why you see the difference in the scoreboard right now.”

Cantlay looked as though he was protecting a lead, often playing to the fat of the green. That was more a product of showing respect to an East Lake course that punishes even slight misses on the wrong side of the hole. He hit 16 of 18 greens, and only twice did he have par putts from about the 5-foot range.

“I’m playing really well, and I think I’m playing the golf course the right way,” Cantlay said.

Cantlay started the Tour Championship at 10-under par because he was the No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup. Rahm began four shots back.

Asked if the idea was to chip away at the lead, Rahm replied, “What other strategy is there?”

“As soon as we teed off, that didn’t matter,” he said of the four-shot deficit. 

“There’s a lot of golf to be played, even now.”

Italian Open

Australia’s Min Woo Lee opened up a two-shot lead with a 3-under 68 after the second round of the Italian Open on Friday in Guidonia, Italy.