Why Taylor Pendrith will be extra nervous on eve of Nelson final round

Why Taylor Pendrith will be extra nervous on eve of Nelson final round

Taylor Pendrith would like to set the record straight.

“Not Canucks. Leafs,” said the 32-year-old Canadian from Richmond Hill, just outside of Toronto, when asked about his NHL allegiance.

The question was pertinent considering that before Pendrith takes to TPC Craig Ranch on Sunday, looking to turn a one-shot lead into his first career PGA Tour title at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson, he will be watching Game 7 of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins.

“Going to go home and get some food and watch the game, be glued to the TV,” said Pendrith, who said he’ll watch the game with just his wife. “I'm a little nervous, but they looked good last game, so hopefully do as good as Game 6 and be exciting.”

The Leafs own 13 Stanley Cup victories, though the storied franchise hasn’t won a Cup since 1967.

As for Pendrith, he’s victory drought spans 72 starts since turning pro out of Kent State in 2014. His best career finish on Tour was a runner-up at the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic. This season, Pendrith has had a true mixed bag with six missed cuts in 11 starts but also four finishes of T-11 or better, including T-11’s in each of his past two starts.

“I feel like my putting has been really good all year,” Pendrith said. “I usually drive it well, and I haven't been driving it great. The last few weeks I've found something with the driver. Got a new shaft. I think I'm just swinging it better in general. But driving it well and not, I guess, putting myself in awkward positions off the tee, which I had been earlier in the year.”

On Saturday, Pendrith fired a field-best, 8-under 63 that included back-to-back eagles, on Nos. 5 and 6. He led the field in strokes gained around the green for Round 3, and for the week he’s top 12 off the tee, around the green and putting.

Pendrith has more to play for than just his first Tour trophy, too. He’s hoping to make the International Presidents Cup team that will compete later this year in Montreal. He’s also No. 83 in PGA Championship points; the top 70 after the Nelson earn spots in the field for the year’s second major.

For Pendrith, the key is not thinking about any of that.

“I think just stay patient and play my own game and don't get ahead of myself,” Pendrith said. “Make as many birdies as you can, because I think it'll take a low one tomorrow.”

In hockey terms, a shootout.