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2012 Northern Trust Open: Patrick Cantlay First UCLA Amateur At Riviera Since 1987

Among the most talked about players at the 2012 Northern Trust Open, which begins Thursday morning at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, is UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay, the top ranked amateur in the world. Cantlay, the 2011 U.S. Amateur champion, is playing the local tournament via sponsor's exemption.

"I think my game has matured. I have gotten a little bigger and a little stronger. I also think that I feel a lot more comfortable out here, I know the routine and what to do," said Cantlay, who said on Wednesday that he has played Riviera "10 to 12 times."

Cantlay is one of six UCLA Bruins in the event, joining professionals Kevin Chappell, Brandt Jobe, Spencer Levin, Tom Pernice Jr. and John Merrick. Cantlay, who will tee off at 8:30 a.m. PST at the 10th tee box at Riviera, was the low amateur in the 2011 U.S. Open, finishing 21st. Cantlay is the first UCLA amateur at the Northern Trust Open since Jobe in 1987.

"He seems like a really nice person and a heck of a player," Phil Mickelson said on Wednesday. "I've obviously seen what he's been doing on the golf course, and it's impressive. From Hartford to the U.S. Open to the U.S. Amateur, he's one of the top amateurs in the country and has done a lot for UCLA golf."

For more coverage of the PGA Tour, be sure to read Waggle Room.