Just like the first three days of the 2022 Zurich Classic, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Shaveli’s team led at the end of the final round on Sunday and as a result each claimed their first win of the 2021-22 PGA Tour season.
It was more fun than I thought it would be for the 800-nominated winners to go on Sunday by five strokes. After shooting 59-68-60 for the first three days, they made the Eagle 7th on Sunday in alternate shot to get to -31 for the week, and it looked completely finished. However, the Ghost at No. 9-10 cut their lead over Sam Burns and Billy Hurschel to just one, and the chase was on.
Cantlay and Shaveli played the rest of the way evenly without action to finish up on the day and 29 under the week and beat Burns and Horschel – and their heroic efforts on Sunday – by two, but it wasn’t what it seemed. Like it was on Saturday night when this Ryder Cup duo were running in front of a surprisingly strong stadium.
It might get lost in history because on paper it would look like a defeat, but leading this tournament for four days in a row is very difficult, even for the two favorites of the week. This is the most impressive part of the stunning performance which included 27 birders, three eagles and a new two-stroke championship record.
The Cantlay-Schauffele partnership has become, perhaps somewhat improbably, a staple in professional golf. From the Presidents Cup in 2019 where they went 2-2-0 to the Ryder Cup in 2021 where they went 2-0-0 in a spare shot to this tournament last year when they finished T11 all the way to this year’s tournament, they seem to really enjoy playing with each other as much as What they enjoy being around each other. This is rare in professional golf and even more so at the highest level with two players ranked in the top 12 in the world.
“Today was an amazing day,” Cantlay told CBS Sports after the event. “We definitely bring out the best in each other, and we really enjoy being there together. In shape like this, it’s the best.”
While their Ryder Cup champions were lauded and deservedly so, perhaps the current best duo in the world deserves an award of their own. And after four consecutive rounds of leading an event with 10 of the top 20 players on the field, they won one at the 2022 Zurich Classic with a stunning performance that was more impressive than it looked.
Here are the rest of our scores for the 2022 Zurich Classic.
2. Sam Burns / Billy Hurschel (-27): Burns and Horschel picked the wrong week to get it hot. The duo finished SEC three goals behind the rest of the field but lost by two to Cantlay and Shaveli. Their run on Sunday when they cut it to one early on a nine in the back was thrilling – we weren’t guaranteed Sunday in the final round – and they have now finished T4 and second on their own in two games in this tournament. Two players who are underrated as individuals and perhaps even more as a team. Grade: A +
T5. Will Zalatores/Davis Riley (-23): This is roughly the pairing I chose before I went back to Horschel and Burns (which turned out to be wise). She was solid for the first three days but blew the doors off with a 66 shot Sunday in an alternate shot that included birds in the last two holes and no ghosting at all. In fact, Zalatoris and Riley only made one phantom all week (which is exceptional considering half the competition is an alternate shot). This gives Riley some invaluable FedEx Cup Points and moves him into the top 40 with only half of the season left. Grade: A
T18. Scotty Scheffler / Ryan Palmer (-18): The Masters champ had a great following to perform in his green jacket, but this duo struggled a lot in an alternate shot to really get into the mix. After 72 on Friday, they shot a 1-under 71 in the same shape on Sunday. While their best ball play was solid, the complete lack of movement in the toughest form left them more than 10 behind by the time they finished on Sunday afternoon. This obviously doesn’t tell the whole story for any single player, and I’m more interested in what Scheffler does in his upcoming stroke play event than where he finished this week while pairing up with Palmer. B degree
T28. Victor Hofland / Colin Morikawa (-16): Given their status as the upcoming co-nominees this week and the fact that they are both ranked in the top five in the official golf rankings, a finish outside the top 20 should be seen as a disappointment for Hovland and Morikawa. I was expecting something under 65 on each of the best ball rounds due to its equivalent tendency to make birds (both top 6 on the PGA Tour in Birdie or a better percentage), while less than 2 overall on the alternate shot isn’t too bad, I wouldn’t be close to good enough to compete in this tournament. I support them all to continue working together in the future because I love watching both of them play golf, and I think when their really short games start, they have more or more firepower than Cantlay and Shaveli. B-grade
T36. Jay Haas/Bill Haas (-12): It’s been a great week for Haas, who demoted and made Haas the oldest (Jay), at 68, the oldest in PGA Tour history to play a weekend in an event. Golf is considered the greatest sport in the world for a number of different reasons, but the fact that a father and son group can compete in an event when the son is nearly 40 is near the top of the list. Grade: A +