UCLA: Derrick Freeman

Special season for golfer Patrick Cantlay

April, 28, 2011
4/28/11
7:23
PM PT
Whether he knew it or not, Patrick Cantlay has been groomed for golfing success from about the time he was nine years old.

He grew up playing and practicing with pro golfers, so it should come as no surprise that in less than a year at UCLA, he's emerged as the Bruins top golfer and one of the top college golfers in the nation.

Cantlay, a UCLA freshman, hopes to add to his already impressive resume when he leads the No. 2 Bruins into the Pac-10 championship beginning Friday at Stanford.

He has won three tournaments already this year -- tied for most among Division I golfers -- and he is the No. 3 ranked player in the Golfweek individual rankings. His scoring average of 70.74 is fourth in the nation and he has finished among the top three in six of the nine tournaments he's played this season.

Those results have made him one of the 10 semifinalists for the Ben Hogan Award given to the nation's top college golfer (the only freshman to make the top 10) and earned him a spot on the Palmer Cup team that pits the top U.S. college golfers against the top college players from Europe in a Ryder Cup style competition.

He is also in the running for a spot on the Walker Cup, a similar team competition open to all amateurs that is among the highest accolades an amateur player can achieve.

"I knew he would be a very good golfer," UCLA coach Derek Freeman said. "That’s why I recruited him. His background, his pedigree, his work ethic. That was the type of kid I wanted on my team. But for us to think he was going to go out and win three events, be in the running for all these awards, have a chance for Walker Cup, making Palmer Cup—that’s pretty special. It doesn’t matter what year you are."

Special indeed, but not altogether surprising given Cantlay's background.

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