Rory McIlroy is considered by many to be the hottest golfer on the planet at the moment. After his dominating performance at the U.S. Open, it's hard to disagree with that reasoning.
But it could be debated that the most in-form golfer in the world at this very moment isn't a professional. Actually, the kid hasn't even reach his 20th birthday. That "kid" would be UCLA sophomore-to-be Patrick Cantlay, an amateur who's currently enjoying a dream season of sorts.
After finishing second at the NCAA Championships, Cantlay started a whirlwind stretch that saw him take home the Jack Nicklaus Award, given to the top collegiate golf, qualify for the U.S. Open, finish in a tie for 20th at Congressional, and then accept an invite to play in the Travelers Championship.
You'd think Cantlay would be worn out at this point, but that clearly isn't the case, as he fired an eye-popping second-round 60 at the Travelers Championship, becoming the first amateur in golf history to accomplish the feat in a professional tournament. His spotless round included eight birdies, one eagle, and a final approach shot on the 18th hole that nearly went in the hole on the fly for 59.
And oh by the way, he's also leading the tournament by four shots going into the weekend. I guess that's just a minor detail.
We talk about American golf needing a player to pick up the baton ... well, this kid could be the future of the game, a player that could someday go head-to-head against the best players in the world.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. He's only a sophomore, and to top it off, he has no intention of turning pro in the near future. Even after Friday's round, he reiterated that his plans were to play in the Walker Cup -- the amateur version of the Ryder Cup -- and then finish school.
However, if he goes on to win this week at TPC River Highlands, you'd have to think Cantlay would reconsider his decision to stay an amateur. Unlike when Phil Mickelson won the 1991 Northern Telecom Open as an amateur and was able to graduate and make use of his exemption, Cantlay still has a lot of school left and wouldn't have that luxury.
Considering how difficult it is to make it on the PGA Tour, you couldn't blame the kid if he wanted to take the exemption and bolt. But given how good he is at this age, there's a good chance that, like Oklahoma State's Peter Uihlein, he should be able to get his tour card on his own.
For now, we just have to wait and see what happens, but after two rounds, the Travelers Championship just got a whole lot more interesting. And it's all thanks to a 19-year-old amateur.