Taylor Pendrith had never played a major championship, but he arrived at Winged Foot for the now concluded U.S. Open thinking he belonged.
“Honestly, this year, I’ve been playing some really nice golf and I have tons of confidence,” he said.
“I Just kind of came into this week, trying not to get caught up in everything and I earned my way here and there’s no reason why I couldn’t play well,” said Pendrith, who earned his ticket in courtesy of his position in the top five of Korn Ferry Tour regular season points.
“So, just to make the cut was awesome, and to have a pretty good weekend, especially (Sunday’s) round in the wind and the tough pins, was great. Yeah, just an overall awesome experience for my first major and couldn’t be happier,” he said.
Pendrith put the finishing touches on that first major by finishing with a birdie on his final hole of the tournament to finish with an even par 70, tying him for the second lowest round of the day. At 10 over, he tied for 23rd, the best among the four Canadians who started the tournament.
“I hit (five) fairways today. It felt like I was in the fairway especially more than (Saturday) and was able to hit a lot of greens and my putting was great, speed was good. I didn’t have a three-putt, just kind of hit to the middle of the greens and two-putt up the hill and tried to make as many pars as possible. Yeah, I played awesome,” said Pendrith.
“Honestly, I played, I thought, really well all week. I just was playing from the rough too much the first three days and today was able to hit some fairways and was never really out of position. I kind of left myself below the hole if I was going to miss a green and just kind of played pretty smart,” he said.
“I figured I was going to make a few bogeys, but if you got in the fairway, there’s some birdie chances out there, and yeah, just kind of had the same game plan – hit lots of drivers and got some good bounces, was able to keep it in the short stuff,” he added.
Pendrith’s experience at Winged Foot served as an apprenticeship for Pendrith, who is third on the Korn Ferry Tour’s regular season points list and appears destined to graduate to the PGA Tour next year when the top 25 on the points list move up.
Pendrith was sending warning signals last season when he returned from injuries, won twice on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada and had three other top five finishes. He finished second on the Order of Merit to move on to the Korn Ferry Tour.
While he has yet to win on the Korn Ferry Tour, he had a streak of four consecutive tournaments earlier this season in which he finished no lower than a tie for third and included three runner-up finishes. He has five top 10 finishes this year and has missed the cut just twice.
“I think winning on the Mackenzie Tour last year really kind of helped my confidence – and getting a second win and kind of learning how to win. It’s a great tour, super competitive now, so to beat those guys twice, I guess, and get two victories really helped my confidence,” said Pendrith.
“Then, having some good finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour this year obviously helps, as well, and having a good week this week. Just looking forward to playing well and hopefully get that tour card for 2021,” he said,
At Winged Foot, he certainly displayed that he belongs on tour.