NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
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Golf fans will be familiar with most of the contestants in this week’s Presidents Cup, but there are a couple of names on the international side that may come as a surprise.
One of those players who might need an introduction is Taylor Pendrith, a 31-year-old Canadian from Richmond Hill, Ontario, which is about 45 minutes due north of downtown Toronto along the Don Valley Parkway. Pendrith was college teammates with countryman Corey Conners at Kent State, and now the former Golden Flashes are on the same side in the Presidents Cup.
After laboring on the Korn Ferry Tour (65 starts) and PGA Tour Canada (41 starts) since turning professional in late 2014, Pendrith finally clinched his ticket to the PGA Tour by finishing No. 5 on the Korn Ferry Tour during the pandemic-extended season in 2020-21. This past year, the PGA Tour rookie impressed by checking in at No. 47 in the FedEx Cup standings. He nearly won the Rocket Mortgage Classic, closing with a disappointing 72 that left him runner-up to Tony Finau.
If you ask anyone about Pendrith, the first words out of their mouth are about his power. He absolutely melts the ball with a 9-degree Ping G410 LST driver that is set down to 8 degrees. Pendrith ranked No. 10 on the PGA Tour last season in driving distance (316.1 yards on average) and finished No. 12 in strokes gained off-the-tee.
According to the popular site Data Golf, the captain’s pick is a tremendous fit for Quail Hollow. Not only has the course historically rewarded longer hitters without being too harsh to those missing fairways, but Pendrith is also playing phenomenal golf coming into the event. In the site’s “True Strokes Gained” rating, Pendrith has picked up 1.62 shots per round against his competition over the past six months. That is No. 14 among all players in that time period. Only six Presidents Cup participants are ahead of him in that statistic, with Sungjae Im being the lone International player on that list.
By the numbers, Pendrith likely deserves to have won a PGA Tour title by now. Rick Gehman of CBS Sports reports that in this past season, there were only 15 PGA Tour players who gained at least two strokes against the field in at least 37 percent of their rounds. The only players in that category who didn’t win a tournament were Pendrith and Tommy Fleetwood.
For Pendrith, his influence in the event likely will come down to how he performs on the greens with his Odyssey O-Works Black 3T. Pendrith has struggled with a balky putter throughout his career, which is the main reason why it took him so long to reach the PGA Tour. Last season, he ranked No. 134 in strokes gained putting.
As for the rest of his bag, Pendrith has multiple brands in play. He has a 14.5-degree Ping G425 Max 3-wood to go along with his Ping driver, but then he transitions into a full set of Srixon irons. He has an 18-degree ZX 2-iron and a 20-degree ZU85 3-iron, the latter being smothered in lead tape on the back of the clubhead. These are key attacking clubs for him on par-5s because they can launch high and land softly while still traveling outrageous distances. The rest of his irons are ZX7s, which is a more traditional-looking iron.
Pendrith has a set of four Cleveland RTX ZipCore wedges at 46, 52, 56 and 60 degrees of loft. He prefers mid-bounce, going with 10 degrees of bounce on all four of his wedges.
And lastly, our favorite part of Pendrith’s equipment is all of the Canadian touches. He has a Golf Canada logo on the bag, a Toronto Maple Leafs cover for his alignment sticks and a red maple leaf head cover for his driver. There is no doubting where he is from.
It all adds up to one dangerous player for the International side. Don’t be surprised if Pendrith makes more of a name for himself this week in Charlotte.