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Taylor Pendrith Clinches PGA Tour Triumph In Dramatic Finale At 2024 CJ Cup Byron Nelson

MCKINNEY, TEXAS - MAY 05: Taylor Pendrith of Canada poses with THE CJ CUP trophy after putting in to win on the 18th green during the final round of THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch on May 05, 2024 in McKinney, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

McKinney, Texas—-Taylor Pendrith secured his inaugural PGA Tour victory at the 2024 CJ Cup Byron Nelson, navigating a thrilling two-man showdown in the tournament’s final stretch. The Canadian golfer clinched the title with a composed performance at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, culminating in a 4-under 67 on Sunday.

Facing stiff competition from Ben Kohles, Pendrith maintained his composure, despite trailing by a shot as he approached the 18th green. Kohles, riding the momentum of consecutive birdies on the 16th and 17th holes, held a slender lead. However, a critical error on the final hole cost him dearly. A mishit chip followed by a missed par putt opened the door for Pendrith, who capitalized on the opportunity.

Reflecting on the dramatic conclusion, Pendrith expressed his emotions, describing the moment as “wild.” Despite feeling disappointed with his initial putt, Pendrith seized the chance to claim victory when Kohles faltered. With guidance from his caddie, Pendrith calmly sank the decisive putt, sealing his maiden PGA Tour triumph.

Fellow Canadian Mackenzie Hughes joined Pendrith in jubilant celebration alongside his wife Meg and son Hayes. Pendrith, recalling his attendance at Hughes’ inaugural victory in the RSM Classic back in 2016, cherished the moment as Hughes, a former teammate at Kent State, became the first to congratulate him, imbuing it with special significance.

The significance of Pendrith’s triumph resonates on multiple levels. Firstly, it secures his entry into the upcoming Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina. Additionally, it propels him closer to the possibility of representing Canada in the prestigious Presidents Cup, set to be held at Royal Montreal later this year.

Despite Pendrith’s resolute execution of a crucial 3-foot putt for his maiden Tour victory, the pathway to triumph was partly paved by Ben Kohles’ agonizing missteps.

Kohles, a 34-year-old contender who had previously featured in the final pairing at this year’s Puerto Rico Open, showcased moments of brilliance, including a remarkable approach shot to within 2 feet, 4 inches on the par-4 16th, followed by a sensational 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th, granting him a narrow lead heading into the 18th hole.

However, Kohles’ fortunes took a drastic turn as his tee shot veered left into the rough, setting the stage for a sequence of unfortunate events. Despite an initial greenside pitch, Kohles’ subsequent shots struggled to find their mark, culminating in a missed 5-foot par putt that ultimately opened the door for Pendrith’s triumph.

Seizing the moment, Pendrith demonstrated remarkable composure and skill, exemplified by a stellar drive on the final hole, setting up a strategic approach shot that landed him within reach of victory. With Kohles faltering, Pendrith capitalized, sinking the decisive birdie putt to clinch victory with a final score of 23 under, mirroring the winning tally of Jason Day in the previous year’s event.

Pendrith’s triumph marks the fifth instance of a first-time Tour winner this season, echoing the feat achieved by Stephan Jaeger at the Texas Children’s Houston Open, and comes after 74 career starts.

Reflecting on his achievement, Pendrith expressed profound gratitude, acknowledging the significance of having his name etched alongside illustrious predecessors on the prestigious Byron Nelson trophy.

As the celebrations ensued, other notable performances punctuated the event, including Jake Knapp’s solo eighth finish and Alex Noren’s impressive third-place showing at 21 under.

Amidst the competitive fray, Kris Kim, the 16-year-old amateur from England, left an indelible mark, becoming the fifth-youngest player to make a cut in a PGA Tour event, despite a challenging final round.

For Kim, the experience was defined by the electrifying presence of fans, fueling his desire to return and compete at the highest level once again.

The victory marked a significant milestone for Pendrith, who had endured a rollercoaster journey on the Tour, punctuated by missed cuts and sporadic successes. His perseverance and determination culminated in a memorable triumph at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson, cementing his status as a rising star in professional golf.