2022 Zurich Classic leaderboard, grades: Team of Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele picks up wire-to-wire win

Just like the first three days of the 2022 Zurich Classic, the team of Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele led at the end of Sunday’s final round and as a result each notched their first wins of the 2021-22 PGA Tour season.

It was more interesting than I thought it would be for the -800 favorites going into Sunday with a five-stroke lead. After shooting 59-68-60 over the first three days, they made eagle at No. 7 on Sunday in alternate shot to get to -31 for the week, and it looked completely over. However, bogeys at Nos. 9-10 consecutively cut their lead over the team of Sam Burns and Billy Horschel to just one, and the hunt was on.

Cantlay and Schauffele played the rest of the way in an uneventful even par to finish at even on the day and 29 under for the week and beat Burns and Horschel – and their heroic Sunday effort – by two, but it wasn’t the cakewalk it seemed like it would be on Saturday night when this Ryder Cup twosome was galloping out in front of a surprisingly strong field.

It might be lost to history because on paper it will look like a rout, but leading this tournament for four consecutive days is extraordinarily difficult, even for the co-favorites coming into the week. That is the most impressive part of a stunning performance that included 27 birdies, three eagles and a new tournament record by two strokes.

The Cantlay-Schauffele partnership has become, perhaps somewhat improbably, a fixture in professional golf. From the Presidents Cup in 2019 where they went 2-2-0 to the Ryder Cup in 2021 where they went 2-0-0 in alternate shot to this tournament last year when they finished T11 all the way to this year’s championship, they seem to genuinely enjoy playing with one another as much as they enjoy being around one another. That’s rare in professional golf and even more so at the highest level with two players ranked in the top 12 in the world.

“Today was a great day,” Cantlay told CBS Sports after the event. “We definitely bring out the best in each other, and we really enjoy being out there together. In a format like this, it’s the best.”

While their heroics at the Ryder Cup last September were lauded, and deservedly so, perhaps the best current pairing in the world deserved a trophy all their own. And after four straight rounds of leading an event with 10 of the top 20 players in the field, they earned one at the 2022 Zurich Classic with an outrageous performance that was even more impressive than it looks.

Here are the rest of our grades for the 2022 Zurich Classic.

2. Sam Burns / Billy Horschel (-27): Burns and Horschel picked the wrong week to get hot. The SEC duo finished three clear of the rest of the field but still lost by two to Cantlay and Schauffele. Their Sunday run when they cut it to one early on the back nine was a thrill – one we weren’t guaranteed on Sunday in the final round – and they’ve now finished T4 and solo second in two appearances at this tournament. Two players who are underrated as individuals and perhaps even more so as a team. Grade: A +

T5. Will Zalatoris / Davis Riley (-23): This is the pairing I nearly picked before flipping back to Horschel and Burns (which turned out to be wise). They were solid over the first three days but blew the doors off with a 66 on Sunday in alternate shot that included birdies at the last two holes and no bogeys at all. In fact, Zalatoris and Riley made just one bogey the entire week (which is extraordinary considering half the competition is alternate shot). This gets Riley some invaluable FedEx Cup points and moves him into the top 40 with only half the season remaining. Grade: A

T18. Scottie Scheffler / Ryan Palmer (-18): The Masters champion had a nice follow-up to his green jacket performance, but this duo struggled too much in alternate shot to ever truly get in the mix. After a 72 on Friday, they shot just a 1-under 71 in the same format on Sunday. While their best-ball play was strong, a complete lack of movement in the tougher format left them over 10 back of the lead at the time they finished on Sunday afternoon. This obviously doesn’t tell the entire story for any single player, and I’m more interested in what Scheffler does in his next stroke-play event than in where he finished this week while paired with Palmer. Grade: B

T28. Viktor Hovland / Collin Morikawa (-16): Considering their status as co-favorites coming into this week and the fact that both are ranked in the top five in the Official World Golf Rankings, a finish outside the top 20 has to be considered a disappointment for Hovland and Morikawa. I expected something lower than 65 in each of the best-ball rounds given their equivalent propensity for making birdies (both rank in the top six on the PGA Tour in birdie or better percentage), and while 2 under overall in alternate shot isn’t bad, it was never going to be anywhere close to good enough to contend for this tournament. I’m all for them continuing to pair together in the future because I love watching both of them play golf, and I think when their short games are truly on, they have as much or more firepower than Cantlay and Schauffele. Grade: B-

T36. Jay Haas / Bill Haas (-12): It was an awesome week for Team Haas, which made the cut and made the elder Haas (Jay), at age 68, the oldest in PGA Tour history to play the weekend at an event. Golf is the greatest sport in the world for a number of different reasons, but the fact that a father-son combo can contend for an event when the son is nearly 40 is near the top of the list. Grade: A +

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