Whereas many of the golf world is on a chase for extra pace and distance off the tee, the one factor Canadian Taylor Pendrith is hoping will go quicker is these subsequent seven months – so he can lastly say he’s a member of the PGA Tour.
Pendrith averages about 185 miles per hour of ball pace together with his driver – which might put him third, comfortably, on the PGA Tour – however admits he hits it a lot far sufficient today regardless of shedding just a few yards as a consequence of harm the final couple of years.
“Everyone seems to be on the lookout for one other 10 to 20 yards, however I’m positive with the place I’m hitting it,” Pendrith tells Sportsnet with a understanding smile, as he’s nonetheless averaging 330 yards off the tee.
The native of Richmond Hill, Ont., is taking his long-bombing efforts – which got here from rising up taking part in elite-level hockey and baseball, a sport he practically received a scholarship for – again to the Korn Ferry Tour this week on the LECOM Suncoast Basic in Lakeland, Fla.
It’s the primary occasion of the 2021 portion of the Korn Ferry Tour schedule. For the primary time within the tour’s historical past, it noticed certainly one of its seasons carry over two calendar years, as a consequence of COVID-19.
Pendrith, who in early February was named to Golf Canada’s Younger Professional Squad and the primary recipient of the Rising Participant of the Yr Award introduced by Andrew Prepare dinner (a $10,000 prize by way of the Golf Canada Basis), at present sits second on the factors checklist thanks to 6 top-10 finishes final 12 months, together with a stretch of occasions the place he completed T3-2-T2-T2.
The Korn Ferry Tour, golf’s triple-A circuit, will award PGA Tour playing cards to the highest 25 on its factors checklist on the conclusion of its season finale in Nebraska on Aug. 15.
Given Pendrith’s place on the checklist on the conclusion of 2020, he earned spots within the 4 “reverse area” PGA Tour occasions for 2021 as a bonus, together with subsequent week in Puerto Rico.
A school teammate of each Mackenzie Hughes and Corey Conners (Pendrith even lives with Conners and his spouse, Malory, in West Palm Seashore, Fla.), Pendrith reached the Korn Ferry Tour in 2016 however his path to the PGA Tour was derailed because the accidents piled up.
Pendrith tells Sportsnet he’ll seemingly play 17 to 18 Korn Ferry Tour occasions and 5 PGA Tour occasions, together with the RBC Canadian Open, assuming it goes forward as scheduled in June.
Whereas Pendrith is about 300 factors behind Will Zalatoris, who’s tops on the Korn Ferry Tour factors checklist, Pendrith has one thing optimistic going for him: Zalatoris, due to some fabulous play on the PGA Tour on the finish of 2020, has primarily already secured himself a spot on the massive circuit.
Zalatoris has been one of many hottest golfers on the planet the final 12 months, shifting from 487th to 49th within the Official World Golf Rating.
“After his U.S. Open efficiency (Zalatoris completed T6 on the main) we knew we in all probability wouldn’t see him on the Korn Ferry Tour once more. I wouldn’t say I’m not upset in that,” mentioned Pendrith.
Pendrith says, with Zalatoris principally out of the working this 12 months for prime spot on the Korn Ferry Tour, he’s received two main targets. The primary is to complete No. 1 on the factors checklist, which might earn him totally exempt standing on the PGA Tour subsequent season, and the second is to lastly discover the winner’s circle.
That’s simply on the course, nonetheless. Pendrith can also be set to marry his long-time associate, Meg, later this 12 months.
Meg is a nurse at Hamilton Basic Hospital, and childhood greatest buddies with Malory Conners. She and Corey set them up. Whereas Pendrith noticed Meg from Oct. 15 to Jan. 15 whereas he was house throughout the Korn Ferry Tour’s winter break, he’s not totally positive when they are going to have the ability to see one another once more.
“It’s powerful proper now. With Canada being in lockdown, principally, it’s difficult for us. We’ve booked some issues (for the marriage). Hopefully I can see her, however I would simply see her on the wedding ceremony day and go from there,” says Pendrith, laughing.
However whereas issues are a bit of unsure about when he’ll see his fiancée or have the ability to return house, one factor could be very near changing into a certainty: Pendrith is on monitor to incomes a PGA Tour card.
He’s pecked away at golf’s ladder, and even when he’s not somebody you’ve heard a lot about, prepare.
“Physique’s good. I really feel stronger. I really feel wholesome. And I’ve no points proper now. It’ll be good to get again into the aggressive routine the place I’m not beating balls on the vary all day like I’ve been… simply competing and taking part in like I used to be doing final 12 months and really feel actually contemporary for the next week,” says Pendrith. “I’m pumped to get going.”
Fellow Canadians Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., and Albin Choi of Toronto (who Monday Certified) can even be within the area alongside Pendrith because the 2021 portion of the Korn Ferry Tour kicks off Thursday from southeast Florida.
Svensson sits 40th on the factors checklist whereas Choi is making a return to competitors, having spent most of 2020 caddying – together with for Sungjae Im’s PGA Tour victory at The Honda Basic.
Pendrith not too long ago performed with Choi in Florida and mentioned Choi shot Eight-under par for 18 holes, regardless of a triple bogey on the scorecard.
“It’s just like the outdated Albin was again,” says Pendrith. “It was sick.”