Patrick Cantlay is a busy man.
Not only is he one of the top-ranked golfers in the world, but he also serves as a Player Director on the PGA Tour Policy Board.
As such, he has been locked into negotiations with the Strategic Sports Group (SSG) in recent weeks. But with that $3 billion deal now closed, Cantlay could finally focus on his game Thursday at Spyglass Hill.
“You have to compartmentalize. You have to be as focused as you can be,” Cantlay explained.
“Maybe it’s a little harder with all the distractions. But I resolve to do as best I can in focusing on the task at hand, and I thought I did a good job of that today at Spyglass.”
Indeed, Cantlay carded an 8-under 64 at Spyglass Hill on Thursday, and if it were not for Thomas Detry’s spectacular finish, he would have a share of the lead.
Alas, Detry sits at 9-under, meaning Cantlay will start his round on Friday one shot off the lead.
“I didn’t get off to the hottest start [Thursday],” Cantlay said of his round.
“I chipped in on 13. I missed a bunch of greens off the start. My short game was really sharp today, and I made a bunch of those midrange putts to keep the momentum going throughout the round.”
Cantlay’s chip-in on the par-4 13th helped jump-start his round. He later made four birdies in a row, which helped him soar up towards the top of the leaderboard.
He finished on a high, birdieing three of his final five holes to shoot 64.
Given that this week has such a strong field, opening with a solid round is imperative. Jordan Spieth even said it “feels like a major championship.”
“Getting the top guys together more often, I think, is good,” Cantlay said.
“This event has the strongest field that it’s had in a number of years, and I think that’s fantastic; I think that’s what the fans want to see. I really hope that this deal [with SSG] brings about change that really makes it better for the fans because I think they’ve suffered a lot over the last couple of years. I hope that the product will be better for them going forward.”
So far at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the product has been great. The leaderboard is loaded with top players, and Cantlay, even though he wears multiple hats, is squarely in the mix.