With an impressive list of accomplishments as an amateur under his belt, Taylor Pendrith is now setting his sights on similar success as a professional golfer.
The 23-year-old Kent State University graduate has come a long way from his high school days, when as an all around athlete, he had thoughts of pursuing a career in another sport.
“Starting out in high school, I was better in baseball than hockey or golf; and thought about even playing college ball,” admitted Pendrith, who attended Bayview Secondary in Richmond Hill, Ont.
“But in grade 11, I started playing in more golf tournaments and did well in those; and that’s when I started to focus more time on golf,” Pendrith explained. “Also, I like the part where golf is an individual sport and your results depend on you.”
According to his former schoolmate from Bayview Secondary, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, Pendrith made the right decision to pursue golf.
“He was someone who played every sport well and I didn’t know how seriously he would take golf; but it’s awesome to see how far he’s come and I think he’s got a bright future ahead as a golfer,” said Lee-Bentham, who is entering her fourth year on the LPGA Tour.
Despite his best efforts in high school, Pendrith was not highly recruited by U.S. universities and even took one year off after his graduation to refine his game.
Eventually, he was offered a scholarship to Kent State University where he would go on to make the most of the opportunity. Combined with support from Golf Canada’s national team program, the Kent State golfer would go on put up an impressive list of accomplishments.
Among his many achievements, Pendrith captured the Monroe Invitational Championship and the Porter Cup.
Winning the Porter Cup put his name among elite company, as notable champions who have hoisted the prestigious trophy include former world No. 1 David Duval, current PGA superstar, Phil Mickelson, and many others.
“I looked at the past winners prior to the event and noticed that some have become very accomplished professional golfers,” said Pendrith.
Another eye opening experience came last July at the RBC Canadian Open, when as an amateur Pendrith shot a five-under 65 in his opening round to sit tied for third.
“It was nice seeing my name on the leaderboard. I was going out there preparing for it like any other tournament. I wasn’t even thinking about making the cut. I was just trying to play as well as I possibly could,” recalled the 6 foot 1 inch golfer.
Pendrith would go on to shoot under par three out of the four rounds and finish at 3-under par to earn the tournament’s Gary Cowan award as low amateur.
Gary Cowan and Taylor Pendrith (Golf Canada/ Bernard Brault)
Canadian national team head coach, Derek Ingram, had nothing but praise for Pendrith after his stellar performance.
“Taylor was fantastic out there. It was a great experience for him and great confidence builder to play on the big stage against the best players and have success,” said Ingram about Pendrith. “It’s definitely going to be a big advantage for him moving forward to have had this experience.”
Someone else who was impressed by Pendrith’s performance at the RBC Canadian Open was Kent State University alumni, Ben Curtis.
According to the 2003 U.S. Open Champion, Pendrith has the potential and the talent to compete on the PGA Tour.
“He’s a great example of a player who can attack every golf course just because of his length; and he’s got a good enough short game where he’s going to have a lot of chances of making birdies on any course,” said Curtis about Pendrith in an exclusive interview after his final round of the RBC Canadian Open.
“He’s obviously had a great career at Kent State. He kept getting better and better each and every year and I think in a few years if not sooner we are going to see him out here on the PGA Tour,” Curtis added.
For his part, Pendrith was honoured to hear the words of encouragement from one of his role models.
“He was in the same boat that I’m in as he played four years at Kent. It’s great to hear those things about me from Ben. Obviously, I look up to him as he’s a Kent State guy and he’s gone on to do such great things on the PGA Tour, it’s truly inspiring to me,” said Pendrith.
“Eventually in a few years, hopefully, I will be playing full time on the PGA Tour against the best and having fun out there,” he added.
While his long term goal is to join Curtis on the PGA Tour, the talented young Canadian is aware of what his short term goals must be to get there.
“I plan on playing mini tour stuff at the beginning of the year and then go to PGA Tour Canada Q-School in April; hopefully by the end of the year I’ll be in a good position to get a Web.com card or get an exemption into the final stage,” said Pendrith who will be sponsored by Callaway and Hollas Golf Apparel.
Curtis was also eager to support the young Canadian with some words of wisdom as he prepares for the exciting journey ahead.
“Be patient because there’s going to be a lot of bumps along the road. It’s a lot more difficult to get on the PGA Tour then when I got out of college,” said the four time PGA Tour winner when asked what his advice would be for Pendrith.
“But I think in the future, he’s going to be just fine; he’s just got to stick to his game and don’t change who he is as a player and continue to attack.”