It might not have been the “Duel in the Sun”, but Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay put on a show Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson would have been proud of with Cantlay winning the BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club on the sixth hole of a playoff after a final-round clash that saw both shoot six-under par 66s.

In fact, the pyrotechnics started well before today, with Cantlay shooting 63-66 in rounds two and three while DeChambeau went 60-67 in the same span. If it seemed like Cantlay was constantly chasing DeChambeau, it’s because he was for most of the weekend.

Cantlay’s work with the putter was a big reason for the victory. Cantlay made birdie putts of 25 feet at the first; a 12-footer at the fifth; a 13-footer on 11 and eventually caught DeChambeau with a 22-footer at the par-4 14th. When he fell behind after DeChambeau’s birdie on the 16th hole, Cantlay then caught him again at the last by making a 21-footer for birdie – his 21st putt made from outside 10 feet for the week.

Not that other parts of Cantlay’s game weren’t on point. They were. He ranked 17th in driving distance at 284.7 metres (311.4 yards) with his 9.5-degree Titleist TS3 driver and was T-2 in greens in regulation with his Titleist 718 AP2 irons and Titleist Vokey wedges, hitting 58 of 72 greens for an 80.56 percent clip.

But it was Cantlay’s Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5 that was the difference-maker. Cantlay struggled with his Scotty Cameron blade-style putter after a hot start to the 2020-2021 season, prompting a move to an Odyssey White Hot OG 2-Ball mallet at the RBC Heritage. That putter got a short leash, but Cantlay stuck with the mallet style, changing to a Cameron Phantom X 5 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in late April. Although the putter Cantlay used at the BMW is a different putter, it is the same model.

Cantlay worked with Scotty Cameron tour rep Drew Page on building the mid-mallet model, which gave Cantlay added stability through its compact wingback construction. Cantlay’s prototype features a double-bend shaft and is devoid of alignment features. Said Page earlier this year: “The Phantom X 5 gives Patrick the stability he was looking for and without any lines he feels freed up to be more athletic with the putting stroke.”

He also made a tweak to the grip early in the week at Caves Valley. Feeling it was too closed, Cantlay had a new grip installed that was one degree open. The result was the now five-time PGA Tour winner leading the field with 31 birdies and coming in first in putts per greens in regulation, impressive when you hit as many greens as Cantlay did. He was also top in strokes gained/putting, beating the field average by 14.577 strokes on the greens – an all-time tour record, according to NBC. And that’s not counting the 17½-footer for birdie on the final playoff hole.

Or exactly what you need to do to win a duel.

What Patrick Cantlay had in the bag at the 2021 BMW Championship:

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Driver: Titleist TS3 (Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60 TX), 9.5 degrees

3-wood: Titleist 915F, 15 degrees

Hybrid: Titleist TS2, 21 degrees

Irons (4-9): Titleist 718 AP2; (PW): Titleist Vokey SM7

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52, 56 degrees); Titleist SM8 (61 degrees)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5

PHOTO: Rob Carr