Golf-Back nine charge powers Cantlay to Zozo Championship win
Oct 25 (Reuters) - American Patrick Cantlay staged a back nine charge to speed past world number two Jon Rahm and number three Justin Thomas to claim a one shot win at the Zozo Championship in Thousand Oaks, California on Sunday.
Cantlay, who began the day three back of overnight leader Thomas, carded a final round seven-under 67 at the Sherwood Country Club to top the leaderboard and collect his third career PGA Tour title with a winning total of 23-under 265.
The 28-year-old's round included a career-high nine birdies, four of those coming over a five hole stretch from the 11th on the back nine.
Cantlay finished the week with just two bogeys, both of those coming during the final round, including one at the 16th that cut his advantage to a single stroke and opened the door for Rahm to force a playoff if he could birdie the final hole.
The Spaniard gave himself a chance for extra holes but grimaced as his 19-foot birdie attempt stopped just short of the cup. He had to settle for a three-under 69 and finish in a tie for second with Thomas, who birdied the 18th for a four-under 68.
Tiger Woods, back in action for the first time since missing the cut at the U.S. Open, closed out a frustrating week with a final round two-over 74.
Woods had arrived at one of his favorite venues as the defending Zozo champion but was never in contention after an opening round 76. Chasing a record 83rd PGA Tour win he finished near the bottom of the leaderboard, 22 shots behind the winner.
"The only thing I can take out of this week that I did positively I feel like each and every day and pretty much every hole is I putted well," said Woods. "I feel like I rolled it great.
"Unfortunately ... most of them were for pars and a couple for bogeys here and there, but not enough for birdies."
Woods' playing partner Phil Mickelson had an even more horrific finish, returning a final round six-over 78 that included three double-bogeys and left him one spot clear of last on the leaderboard.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; editing by Richard Pullin)
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