Taylor Pendrith wins first PGA Tour title at CJ Cup Byron Nelson

Taylor Pendrith had plenty of opportunities to take control of the CJ Cup Byron Nelson, but he failed to capitalize on his length on TPC Craig Ranch’s drivable par-4 14th and missed a mid-range birdie putt on the difficult par-3 15th. Eventually, Ben Kohles took advantage, making birdie on 16 and 17 to take the lead heading to the par-5 18th.

Pendrith, a 32-year-old Canadian, then put his ball on the par-5 18th green in two and watched as Kohles chunked a pitch from short of the green and missed his par putt to drop back to 22 under. All Pendrith had to do was make his 3-footer for birdie — which he drained to win the CJ Cup Byron Nelson by one.

“Doesn’t feel real yet still. All a blur the last hour. To hear that sounds amazing,” he said afterward. “And it’s been something that I’ve been working towards my whole career and to finally get it done feels unbelievable.”

The victory was Pendrith’s first PGA Tour win and comes in his third season since earning his card via the Korn Ferry Tour. His last professional win came five years ago on the PGA Tour Canada.

In his rookie season in 2022, Pendrith held the 54-hole lead at the Bermuda Championship and later a share of the 54-hole lead at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, but he settled for top-five finishes both times. His nine top-25s propelled him to a BMW Championship appearance to end his season and then a selection to the International Presidents Cup team.

But Pendrith performed poorly at Quail Hollow, losing all four of his matches as the U.S. took the Cup. While he posted four top 10s the next season in 2023, he also missed 12 cuts, more than double his total from his rookie year.

His 2024 season was similarly a case of Jekyll and Hyde. He had missed more cuts than he had made coming into this week at TPC Craig Ranch. But, in his five made cuts, he’d only finished outside the top 11 once.

“It’s been a grind for the last little bit,” Pendrith said. “I got off to a great start in the year with two Top 10s and missed a bunch of cuts. Wasn’t playing great. Mentally wasn’t really having fun.”

He got off to a fast start this week outside of Dallas, starting the weekend in a tie for fifth before making back-to-back eagles on the front nine of what ended up being a third-round 63 to grab the lead by one.

On Sunday — playing in the same group with Kohles and Jake Knapp — Pendrith started the day by stuffing his approach at the 1st, leading to a birdie, and then holed a bunker shot on No. 6 to stay one ahead of Kohles.Kohles, the reining Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year, briefly grabbed the lead on his own on No. 8 before Pendrith grabbed a share once again on the 9th. He didn’t give it up until Kohles’ back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17.

Pendrith spun his approach off the front of the 17th green, settling just in the edge of the rough, near the front bunker, impacting his stance. Preferred lies were in effect for the fourth straight day due to heavy rains overnight, but PGA Tour official Ken Tackett ruled none of Pendrith’s ball was touching the fairway, denying him relief. He managed to scoot his ball on the green and then converted his clutch par save.

Trailing by one on 18, Pendrith’s second with an iron found the green 40 feet away after Kohles’ hybrid came up short in the rough. Facing a similarly difficult stance to what Pendrith had on the previous hole, Kohles chunked his third and then missed the par attempt from five feet to give Pendrith the win.

“I feel for Ben,” Pendrith said. “He played really, really good today, especially down the stretch birdieing 16, 17. I’ve been on the other side of it a couple times and it sucks, but it’s golf. It’s a hard game.”

Pendrith is the sixth different Canadian to win on the PGA Tour in the past two seasons.

Source: golf

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