Patrick Cantlay rallies to grab win before Tour Championship title defense

Patrick Cantlay rallies to grab win before Tour Championship title defense

Scottie Scheffler will hold a two-shot lead over Patrick Cantlay to start the Tour Championship next week. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It took a late birdie push, but Patrick Cantlay is headed back into East Lake ready to defend his FedExCup title.

Cantlay, after a clutch birdie at the 17th, edged out Scott Stallings to win the BMW Championship at the Wilmington Country Club on Sunday. That win, which marked his second of the season, puts him at No. 2 in the FedExCup standings with one event left on the schedule.

Cantlay has now won his second straight BMW Championship, which makes him the first person in history to successfully defend a playoff event. If he can pull off a win next week in Atlanta, he’d be the first person in PGA Tour history to ever win consecutive FedExCup titles.

Cantlay started Sunday with a one shot lead, but he saw that disappear after he posted a pair of bogeys right around the turn. It wasn’t until No. 11 that Cantlay jumped right back into it with a deep up-and-down birdie. He then narrowly missed an eagle shot at the par-5 14th, which put him right back into a share of the lead with Stallings.

It was at the 17th that Cantlay finally retook the lead. After his drive on the par-4 landed about 65 yards from the green, thanks to an incredibly lucky bounce, Cantlay expertly spun his approach shot back just a few feet from the cup — which set up the birdie putt and sent him to the 18th with a one-shot lead.

While his drive on the final hole landed in a fairway bunker, Cantlay’s approach found the green to set up the two-putt par and eventually give him the one-shot win.

Stallings finished alone in second at 13-under on the week, and both Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele finished in third at 11-under.

Cantlay now has eight career wins on the PGA Tour and 11 top-10 finishes so far this season — including his win at the Zurich Championship of New Orleans.

Scott Stallings plays his way into the Tour Championship

Scott Stallings didn’t quite pull off a win on Sunday, but his big finish in Delaware launched him up the FedExCup standings and into East Lake next week.

Stallings, who started the week at No. 46 in the standings, walked off the course on Sunday at No. 12 — which more than qualifies him for the Tour Championship. In total, Stallings jumped up 34 spots on the leaderboard.

Though he hasn’t won on tour since 2014, Stallings has had quite the stretch of golf in recent weeks. After missing the cut at the US Open in June, Stallings rattled off a pair of top-10 finishes at the Travelers Championship and the John Deere Classic before finishing T13 at the season-ending Wyndham Championship.

He missed the cut last week at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, but he still snuck his way into the second playoff event.

Stallings entered Sunday just one shot back of Cantlay at 11-under after posting a 66 on Saturday, and took a share of the lead on the back side after a pair of birdies offset one bogey. He had a shot to take the solo lead on the final green, but his putt was just narrowly off the mark — which gave him the final-round 69 and second place finish.

“That was the biggest goal of the year,” Stallings said of reaching the Tour Championship. “I had a very in-depth conversation with all the guys I work with in Napa, and to figure out what it was going to take, some tweaks in my game to do the things I need to do to play at this level, to compete with the best players in the world and make it to East Lake [now] what better late than never, I guess.

“But super excited the way that [caddie] John [Yarbrough] and I kind of handled ourselves and knew what we were doing with coming down the stretch, and excited for next week for sure.”

Where will Patrick Cantlay start at the Tour Championship?

With his win on Sunday, Cantlay is now in the second spot in the FedExCup standings — which puts him in an incredible position to defend his title at East Lake.

Cantlay will start at 8-under par on Thursday in Atlanta, which will put him just two shots back of leader Scottie Scheffler. Will Zalatoris, who withdrew this week with a back injury, will be in third at 7-under.

Here’s a look at the early leaderboard for the Tour Championship:

1. Scottie Scheffler (-10)

2. Patrick Cantley (-8)

3. Will Zalatoris (-7)

4. Xander Schauffele (-6)

5. Sam Burns (-5)

T6. Cameron Smith (-4)

T6. Rory McIlroy (-4)

T6. Tony Finau (-4)

T6. Sepp Straka (-4)

T6. Sungjae Im (-4)

Aaron Wise took the 30th and final spot in the standings. Shane Lowry was the first man out at No. 31

This post will be updated with more information shortly.