They say “the house always wins” and it appeared the famous quote had transcended Las Vegas’ famous casinos and reached windy TPC Summerlin on Sunday.
As the golf course appeared the only likely winner in the closing stages of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, with each title contender self-imploding down the stretch.
Patrick Cantlay eventually emerged victorious from a three-man playoff, after himself seeming to crumble under the pressure of the lead and the chance to secure his first PGA Tour victory during the closing stages of the final round.
"I felt like I needed to go out there and make a bunch of birdies. I was trying to get to 12 or 13 under," Cantlay said.
The 25-year-old defeated Alex Cejka, who closed with a blistering 8 under 63, and Whee Kim on the second hole of sudden death, having made back-to-back bogeys at the 71st and 72nd holes of regulation to sign for a 4 under par final round 67 and 9 under total.
The American begun the day at 5 under par, four shots back of overnight leaders J.J. Spaun and Beau Hossler. Who both remained in the hunt for their own maiden Tour wins until the dying stages of regulation with the tough par-3 17th proving both players undoing.
Cantlay made the turn in 2-under, before four straight birdies starting at the par-4 11th hole earnt him the lead at 11 under par and a chance to complete his storybook comeback from a serious back injury and the death of his close friend and caddy Chris Roth, who died in a hit-and-run accident witnessed by Cantlay in 2016.
"There's not a lot of give up in me. I never really thought about giving it up, I thought maybe there was a chance my back would never feel good enough to play again," Cantlay said of his injury troubles.
Like Cantlay, Kim bogeyed the 72nd hole to fall into the three way tie having made six birdies in a blemish free final round before reaching the par-4 18th hole.
The remaining three competitors headed back to the 18th tee for the playoff, with all three players recording bogey 5s the first time around.
In fading light the trio headed back to the par-4 tee once again and it was Cantlay who emerged as the most likely victor, after an audacious approach shot from the trees setup an up and down chance from over the back of the green.
"I felt like as long as I kept it below the tree branch that was in front of me and cut it enough, I felt like it would go in a pretty decent spot," the American said of what proved to be the defining shot of the playoff.
The former World No.1 amateur showed nerves of steel, nearly holing out for a birdie after opting for his putter from off the green. Leaving a par putt of only a few feet.
Cejka had a chance to extend the playoff yet again with a par putt of his own that he failed to convert, handing 25-year-old Cantlay his first Tour win.
Aaron Baddeley was the best of the five Australians in the field, earning a tie for 10th. The Victorian finished 6 under par for the tournament and will rue a 3 over par third round 74, which all but ended his chances of competing for the title.