A look at in-form Patrick Cantlay’s hopes of glory in the 2021 Majors

After making 14 cuts in his first 15 Major starts, Patrick Cantlay is ready to win one of golf's ultimate prizes in 2021

Patrick Cantlay is the hottest player in golf.

Okay, deciding over what period of time that term should apply is always up for debate. And, to be honest, 36 holes is probably far too short.

But what a 36 holes! Cantlay shot an 11-under 61 to finish like a train and take second place at The American Express.

And, inspired by the beautiful scenery of the Monterey Peninsula, he opened his bid for glory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a course record-tying 10-under 62.

That's an absurd 21-under for his last two competitive rounds. To add some further context, those laps at the two California venues - one in the desert, one by the coast - are two of the three lowest rounds of his career. For completists, his lowest was a 60 at the 2011 Travelers Championship when still an amateur.

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Low scores are nice. But golfers at Cantlay's level want to deal in trophies. And, ultimately, the trophies on offer for the four biggest events - the Majors.

Cantlay is 28 years old and the World No.11. Majors are seriously on his radar now so can he make the big breakthrough in 2021?

Here, Planet Sport Golf examines his hopes at this year's venues - Augusta National, Kiawah Island, Torrey Pines and Royal St. George's.

The Masters - Augusta National

Cantlay's best odds: 25/1 Sky Bet

Record at The Masters

2012: T47

2018: Missed cut

2019: T9

2020: T17

Augusta National is definitely a place where Cantlay thinks he can win.

Two years ago he said: "I love this place. I love fast greens and I love when the greens are really slopey, it's easier for me to see the ball going into the hole, see the ball breaking into the hole."

That year he roared into contention with a third-round 64 (just one off the course record).

In Sunday's closer he tied for the lead with an eagle on 15. But a bogey at 16 dropped him back and, of course, destiny decreed that this was Tiger Woods' Masters.

But that display marked him down as a serious Green Jacket challenger for many years to come and he backed up that T9 with T17 last year.

Once more, he threatened something much better after moving to tied sixth with a Friday 66 but on the weekend he went flat.

However, add in his final two Masters rounds of 2019 and his first two of 2020 and he played those 72 holes in 20-under.

The potential is there to do something very special.

PGA Championship - Kiawah Island

Cantlay's best odds: 33/1 Paddy Power

Record at the PGA Championship

2017: T33 (Quail Hollow, North Carolina)

2018: T27 (Bellerive, Missouri)

2019: T3 (Bethpage State Park, New York)

2020: T43 (Harding Park, California)

Cantlay's best Major performance so far came at a PGA Championship.

That was in the 2019 edition at Bethpage when he battled tough final-round conditions to shoot 2-under 278 and finish in a three-way tie for third.

He's made all four cuts although hasn't cracked the top 25 in his other three efforts.

Cantlay did fire middle rounds of 68-66 at Harding Park in 2020 but bookend 73s hampered any hopes of getting in the mix.

As for his hopes at Kiawah Island, he's yet to play the course competitively but a victory at Pebble would be a good sign that he can excel in windy, coastal conditions.

There's also another good omen. Kiawah is in South Carolina, the same location as another well-known PGA Tour event, The Heritage. Cantlay's record there in three starts? Two thirds and a seventh. Both courses are designed by Pete Dye.

US Open - Torrey Pines

Cantlay's best odds: 28/1 bet365

Record at the US Open

2011: T21 Congressional, Maryland)

2012: T41 (Olympic Club, California)

2018: T45 (Shinnecock, New York)

2019: T21 (Pebble Beach, California)

2020: T43 (Winged Foot, New York)

Cantlay took Low Amateur honours on his US Open debut at Congressional but hasn't actually been able to better than finish in four subsequent attempts.

He has the calm temperament that often marks out US Open winners and making all five cuts at an event where consistency is hard to come by is impressive.

But in four attempts as a pro Cantlay has yet to finish any round in the top 20 so he needs to step up. Could that change at Torrey Pines?

Record at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open

2013: Missed cut

2018: T51

2019: Missed cut

Despite Torrey Pines being in his native California, Cantlay has a poor record at the San Diego track.

He's made just one of three cuts and chose not to play there earlier this month.

However, that could be a calculated decision. Torrey Pines South plays firmer and tougher in June and others with poor records there in the Farmers Insurance have gone on to contend when the same venue has staged the U.S. Open.

Open Championship - Royal St. George's

Cantlay's best odds: 35/1 bet365

Record at the Open Championship

2018: T12 (Carnoustie, Scotland)

2019: T41 (Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland)

2020: No tournament

Cantlay didn't make his Open debut until 2018 but he made an impressive first start on the links.

Three 70s and a 71 at Carnoustie gave him a 72-hole tally of 281 and that was just five back from two-shot winner Francesco Molinari.

Patrick Cantlay Open Championship 2018
Patrick Cantlay Open Championship 2018

It didn't go quite as well at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland where he shot 70-71-71-74 but the foundations are there.

Cantlay was a former World Amateur No.1 before a fractured spine and the death of his best friend derailed his career.

That explains his absence from the Majors between 2012 and 2017.

But since playing in the big events again, he's shown he has the all-round game to win one.

His record of making 14 cuts in 15 Major starts is cap-doffing stuff. And, on current form, Cantlay must be a contender to challenge seriously at multiple Majors in 2021.

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