“I played brilliant,” said the Richmond Hill, Ont. Native, after putting together one of the best rounds of Sunday’s final round, a par 70.
Pendrith, who finished the tournament as a weak Canadian, had three bogeys and three birdies, including one on the difficult 18th hole, to end his first major championship on a high note.
“I felt like I was in the fairway, especially more than yesterday,” said the 29-year-old. “I managed to hit a lot of greens, my putting was great, my speed was good. I didn’t have three putts. I just hit him in the middle of the green and put two putts up the hill. I was trying to make as many leaves as possible. ”
Officially, Pendrith only hit five fairways, one more than Saturday, but he added four that were in the first cut, allowing him to play an aggressive second shot on the green, rather than cutting the fairway.
The distance at which he hit those tee shots was breathtaking, even by PGA Tour standards. On the ninth hole, he crushed his 372 yard ball allowing him to use a wedge to reach the 556 yard hole. For the week, he finished third in driving distance.
But Pendrith is more than the long bullet. He showed his silky short game in the final holes, releasing a slippery six-footer on 17 for a bogey, then on 18 where he rolled into a short putt for birdie.
“I was right in the rough and I was able to hit him four or five feet and put the putt,” he said. “Bit [of a] self-confidence by ending with a birdie. Have a good weekend. ”
His tied round was improved by one player, Bryson DeChambeau. His efforts were rewarded with a check for $ 101,797.
The finish continued what has been a great race for Pendrith, who has been injured throughout his career. Last season he won two Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada events to qualify for the Korn Ferry Tour. He struggled with injuries early this season and may have been one of the few people to welcome the stoppage of golf as it gave him time to heal. When play resumed, his game was sharp and he rolled out a streak of three consecutive finalist finishes. This placed him in the top five on the points list, earning him a berth at the US Open.
“This year I’ve played really good golf and I’m very confident,” said Pendrith, who shared with Corey Conners when the two were at Kent State. “I just arrived this week and tried not to get caught up in everything. I won my place here and there is no reason why I cannot play well. Today’s round, in the wind and difficult bowling, was great. All in all a great experience for a first major and I couldn’t be happier.
Pendrith has two items inked in her calendar. The first is the resumption of the Korn Ferry Tour, which has three other tournaments on its program. Due to the pandemic, there is no promotion on the PGA Tour for top players like in a normal year. No matter where he ends up, he’ll be back on the high school circuit for another year.
The second is to return to Canada to find his fiancée Meg Beirnes. Due to border regulations, the two haven’t been together since May.
“I’ll be home as soon as possible,” he said. “I haven’t been home since May. I don’t know if I will fly or drive but I will be leaving the day after the tournament. ”
Pendrith never doubted he had the game to play with the best in the world, but last week just solidified it. A major is likely to transform into many others. This is just the start of what should be a nice climb up the golf ladder.