Patrick Cantlay satisfies major medical extension with Valspar runner-up showing

Golf fans will be seeing Patrick Cantlay a lot more on the PGA Tour this season.

After finishing runner-up at this week’s Valspar Championship, the 24-year-old Cantlay earned $680,400, which was enough to secure his PGA Tour card for the rest of the season. Competing on a sponsor exemption, Cantlay shot 3-under 68 Sunday at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course, finishing a shot back of champion Adam Hadwin.

Cantlay, who is playing this season on a major medical extension, started the year needing to earn at least 389 FedEx Cup points or $624,746 in 10 starts to keep his card for the remainder of the season. Valspar was just his second start on that extension (Cantlay tied for 48th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and received eight FedEx Cup points and $17,897).

Still, Cantlay will leave Tampa disappointed. He bogeyed his 72nd hole. A par would have forced a playoff and a birdie would have won him his first PGA Tour tournament.

“It didn’t really feel like a burden to begin with,” Cantlay said of the medical extension. “I’m not too worried about that. You know, it doesn’t really feel like much consolation at the moment. I didn’t finish the deal.”

The former top-ranked amateur in the world who played collegiately for two years at UCLA, winning the Haskins Award as a freshman, Cantlay was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his L5 vertebrae in the summer of 2013. Before this season, he hadn’t played on Tour since the 2014 OHL Classic at Mayakoba as he battled the injury. In February 2016, Cantlay’s best friend and caddie Chris Roth was killed by a hit-and-run driver right in front of Cantlay.

After years of physical and personal struggles, though, Cantlay appears to be well on his way to realizing his extreme potential. He finished in the top 25 in his first four PGA Tour starts as an amateur in 2011. He was the world’s No. 1 amateur for 55 weeks, a record for the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

His next start figures to be the Puerto Rico Open in two weeks.

“I’m playing really well,” Cantlay said. “My health is good. I feel good. And you know, that’s what I love doing out there. So as many times as I can put myself in that situation today.”