Thrilling playoff gives fans plenty to cheer about in PGA Tour’s return to Baltimore area at Caves Valley | NOTES

Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at The Baltimore Sun.

As Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay went head-to-head in the sudden-death playoff at the BMW Championship on Sunday, it was hard to tell who was sweating more — the golfers or the fans who were running between the 17th and 18th holes to get a view of the action.

Car keys flew out of people’s pockets, fans leaned against the metal railings of the grandstands and some stood on top of a hill to witness Cantlay’s attempt for birdie during the twilight hour of the tournament. The crowd held its breath before erupting into cheers after Cantlay sank the tournament-clinching birdie putt on the sixth playoff hole to beat DeChambeau in Baltimore’s first PGA Tour event in 59 years.


“Just the chants of ‘Patty’ or “Patty Ice,’ I’ve been hearing it all week, and it’s fun,” Cantlay said after his second PGA Tour victory of the season. “It’s great to have [the fans] back, and they were awesome today.”

Throughout the weekend, fans have raved about Maryland being the perfect location for a PGA Tour event, as the passion for golf in the state runs deep. That passion was prevalent throughout the weekend, as Ravens coach John Harbaugh, defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, Governor Larry Hogan, rapper Macklemore and Washington Football Team cornerback Kendall Fuller made the trip to Caves Valley.


Fans moaned in agony when DeChambeau missed his putt by inches on the third playoff hole. When DeChambeau made par despite hitting the ball into the water during the fourth playoff hole, it felt like the screams could have been heard throughout Baltimore.

By the time the sixth playoff hole rolled around, fans had to bend down and look between people’s legs to watch Cantlay complete the comeback victory. After Cantlay lifted the championship trophy and fans walked back to the shuttles, there was a certain hopeful vibe around Caves Valley and the future of the PGA in Maryland.

“It’s so nice to be back with fans, and they were just so supportive all day,” Cantlay said. “They’ve been supportive for the last four days.”

Garcia happy to be back

Sergio Garcia, an 11-time PGA Tour champion, felt elated to earn a spot in the Tour Championship this week at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta after tying for sixth place at 21-under par. Garcia hasn’t played in the Tour Championship, the final leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs, since 2008.

“It’s very exciting,” said Garcia, who is projected 28th in the FedEx Cup standings with the top 30 advancing to this week’s final event. “Obviously after last week I put myself in a difficult spot, but showed a lot of guts this week. Played some great golf.”

Garcia recorded a score of 3-under 69 in the final round. He made double-bogey on the fifth hole, but bounced back by recording birdies on the 12th, 13th and 16th.

“To come back after what happened on five and not give up and keep at it and play as hard as I did those last three holes, the two up-and-downs I made on 16 and 18, they were very nice,” Garcia said.

Finau feels good about his game

After shooting 9-under-par in the final round of the BMW Championship, Tony Finau feels good about his game as he heads to East Lake for the Tour Championship.


“I knew I had a low 60s in me on this golf course,” said Finau, who will start the Tour Championship at 8-under, two strokes behind leader Cantlay. “A lot of low scores have kind of been yielded all week, and [I] haven’t been able to score as well as I would have liked, so I really put some pressure on myself to score and have a good round, and the putter got hot, and it was a nice day to do that.”

Finau, projected second in the FedEx Cup standings, finished tied for 15th with a total score of 16-under 272.

Finau birdied 10 times during the final round, his best performance since the opening round when he was 5-under-par. He thinks his putting has been the best it has ever been.

“I have the most confidence I’ve had with it,” Finau said. “No secret that I’ve messed around with putting grips, but the combination of having this new Ping putter that I have and the hard work, it’s starting to show some fruits, which is great.”