LOS ANGELES -- The good news for Patrick Cantlay is that he'll tee it up Thursday at Riviera in his hometown tournament.
He can only hope it doesn't cost him down the road.
Cantlay, who shot 60 at the Travelers Championship in 2011 while still at UCLA, was given a sponsor's exemption to the Northern Trust Open, one of seven he is allowed this year because is not a PGA Tour member. It looked as if he wouldn't have to use it when Cantlay closed with a 67 at Pebble Beach and tied for ninth. Anyone finishing in the top 10 gets into the next open tournament.
But that's when everything seemed to conspire against him.
The field at Riviera is so strong that it already was filled with regular members. There was no room left for top-10 players from the previous week.
"There's only a few occasions in the last five to 10 years when a top-10 category was the last man in the field," said Tyler Dennis, the tour's vice president of competition. As for no one from the top 10 getting in? "Very rare," he said.
James Hahn and Patrick Reed, graduates of the Web.com Tour and Q-School, finished ahead of Cantlay at Pebble. They didn't get in, either, instead going to the top of the alternate list. By Monday, they were in the tournament after Hank Kuehne and Jhonattan Vegas withdrew.
Cantlay ordinarily would have been next on the alternate list. But on noon Monday, he was removed from the alternate list because he already was in the field on a sponsor's exemption. This is his fourth exemption of the year. It would have been handy for Cantlay to save that exemption later in the year.
Dennis said the PGA Tour's regulation allows for a player's top-10 finish to carry over into the next event -- the Honda Classic, in this case -- if he doesn't get in a tournament. But it doesn't apply in this case because Cantlay is playing the Northern Trust Open.
The only way to save that exemption would have been taking a big risk -- pull him out of the tournament before noon Monday with hopes that enough players would have withdrawn for him to make it into the field as an alternate.
Pebble Beach was Cantlay's first cut this year, and he made $175,500. That will help in his bid to reach a level where he could get unlimited exemptions. But by having to use the sponsor exemption, it puts a little more pressure on him to play his best in the limited starts he has.