The American Express Halfway Hut: In-form Patrick Cantlay stays on pole in California

News, stats, quotes and social after 36 holes at La Quinta where the Ryder Cup star holds a narrow one-shot lead after two rounds.

Patrick Cantlay finished the 2021 season in a blaze of glory, winning the final two tournaments to capture the FedEx Cup and its enormous $15,000,000 bonus.

After opening 2022 with a fourth place at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the World No.4 is now in ideal position to make it three wins in four starts.

Cantlay leads The American Express by a shot after following up his blistering 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club with a 4-under 68 at the Nicklaus Tournament Course.

His halfway tally of 14-under 130 puts him a shot clear of compatriot Tom Hoge while five more US players are tied for third.

That bunch includes Will Zalatoris who blitzed the Nicklaus Tournament Course in 11-under 61 to catapult himself 93 places up the leaderboard.

Cantlay now faces two rounds at the Stadium Course, one of three used this week and host of the closing 18.

The difference for Cantlay on Friday? Battling the gusting winds which blew at 25mph on his second nine.

With a trio of courses used, the cut won't be made until 54 holes. As it stands, there are six players tied in tied 70th on 5-under.

That means Justin Rose has work to do after he could only manage a 1-over 73 at the Stadium Course to finish at 3-under 141.

World No.1 Jon Rahm is eight shots behind Cantlay after having to settle for a 2-under 70 at the Nicklaus. That has played as the easiest of the three layouts so far.

Stats

36-hole averages

69.240 - Nicklaus Tournament Course (NT) 69.481 - La Quinta (LQ) 70.481 - Stadium Course (SC)

Cantlay ranks 2nd for Greens In Regulation and 49th in Putts Per GIR after two rounds (Strokes Gained stats haven't been recorded).

Nine second-round leaders/co-leaders have won The American Express since 2000. Hudson Swafford in 2017 was the last halfway pacesetter to do it.

Cantlay is now 36-under for his last six rounds in this event. He closed with a 61 at the Stadium Course last year to finish runner-up. He said on Friday: "It's a golf course that suits my game. We'll see how it plays tomorrow with the increased wind."

He's been the halfway leader on the PGA Tour on six previous occasions. He's converted just once and even that had an asterisk as it came at last year's Tour Championship which included Starting Strokes.

Zalatoris birdied his final seven holes at the Nicklaus to shoot 61, matching his career-best round.

Quotes

Patrick Cantlay (-4 NT, 130)

"I felt like it was really solid golf, I didn't get the most out of it I possibly could, but another solid day and two more of those I should be right there.

"I actually putted really well today and made nothing. The greens were a little beat up and it was hard to make putts. But I rolled it really well and I rolled it how I wanted to, I just didn't get any to go in."

Tom Hoge (-6 SC, 131)

"I didn't really know what to expect. The forecast I think was 10 to 20 for today and really felt fortunate that we got through 17 holes without the wind really coming up, just our last hole there it got gusting.

"But just a solid day for me. Again a lot of good birdie chances, would like to have hit a few wedge shots closer there for a few holes, but happy where I'm at. And I think we might have some wind again tomorrow as well at La Quinta, so just got to go play another good solid round."

Will Zalatoris (-11 NT, 132)

"I mean I thought I was playing some really good golf at home over the last month, I really worked hard on my wedges and my putting and I think it's really paid off.

"I think today I just gave myself chances, I hit a lot close and made a couple 20, 30 footers to keep the round going and obviously, like I said, making birdie on 9 from the wrong fairway is kind of the icing on the cake."

Joseph Bramlett (67 LQ, 132)

"I played great. I mean the score on the last two holes wasn't great, but I hit good shots, it just got very blustery and this is a tricky little golf course. So not upset, actually quite proud of the way I played.

"I just feel good about where my game's at. I'm hitting it well, rolling it well, and my driver works, so it's all in pretty good shape. We'll just see what the Nicklaus Course presents us with tomorrow."

Zach Johnson (-6 NT, 133)

"It was certainly challenging, the winds weren't that substantial until the last maybe few holes, but, yeah, solid couple days.

"For the most part, especially in La Quinta, I would say at the Nicklaus too, you feel like you tee it up and if you're hitting it somewhat decent you're going to have an opportunity or a look."

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