PGA TOUR RBC Canadian Open

Taylor Pendrith: Late Bloomer Driven to the Top

pendrith with caddy

Today, Taylor Pendrith holds the distinction as a winner on the PGA TOUR but it was 10 years ago when he enjoyed his first taste of success against the best professional golfers in the world.

Competing as an amateur, the Kent State University senior shot a 65 on the first day of the 2014 RBC Canadian Open to sit in a tie for third spot after the opening round. The then 23-year-old relatively unknown amateur from Richmond Hill, Ont., spoke about his humble beginnings in the sport and his steady progression.

Pendrith Low Amateur
MONTREAL, QC – JULY 27: Talyor Pendrith of Canada holds the Gary Cowan Low Amateur Medal after the RBC Canadian Open at the Royal Montreal Golf Club on July 27, 2014 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

“I started when I was 12 and didn’t really have any aspirations to become a professional golfer,” he said after his eye-opening first round.

“When I was 15, I played in a smaller junior circuit and started to win and thought maybe I could move it to the next level. When I was 16 and 17 and started playing more competitive tournaments, then got recruited and went down to (Kent State) and then it kind of clicked,” recalled Pendrith who finished the 2014 RBC Canadian Open as the top amateur in the field.

pendrith kent state

Former high school teammate and Canadian National Team member Rebecca Lee-Bentham talks about Pendrith’s progression as a golfer since their high school days.

“It seemed like he played every sport in high school but I recall his main sports were actually hockey and baseball. I remember being on the co-ed volleyball team and the golf team together,” noted the former Bayview Secondary student and former LPGA Tour pro.

“Taylor ended up joining the same golf club as me and I started to see him practise and play a lot more in his last couple of years in high school. I guess you could say he was a bit of a late bloomer but over the years, I’ve seen him improve non-stop from high school golf to college golf and as a professional,” she continued.

“Taylor’s progression and success is a testament to his talent, hard work and love for the game. It’s honestly one of the most inspirational things to witness.”

Another important part of Pendrith’s journey which should be highlighted was seeing his Kent State University teammates and his fellow Canadian National Team members Mackenzie Hughes and Corey Conners make it onto the PGA TOUR.

Since winning the RSM Classic in Nov 2016, Hughes has been a regular on the PGA Tour.

In April of 2019, Conners won the Valero Texas Open and has since solidified his place as a rising star on the PGA TOUR. 

After graduating from Kent State University, he competed on the Mackenzie Tour and then advanced to play on the Korn Ferry Tour. In his second event, Pendrith recorded a fourth place finish but injuries would prevent him from enjoying continued success on the KFT and he would find himself back on the Mackenzie Tour.

“When I first advanced from the Mackenzie Tour I thought it was good. Obviously have seen my buddies go from there to the Korn Ferry Tour, win (on) the Korn Ferry Tour, come to the PGA TOUR, win (on) the PGA TOUR,” said Pendrith at the 2022 Presidents Cup referring to Hughes and Conners.

During the 2022 Presidents Cup, Conners spoke about their journeys to the PGA TOUR.

“It goes to show you we have a similar path and the National Team Program, Golf Canada, Herb Page at Kent State, they’ve led us on a great path. They’ve taught the right things. It’s really special to have shared the journey to professional golf with Taylor and have him out on the PGA TOUR now and to have him on the International Presidents Cup team,” said Conners.

Pendrith acknowledged his path to the PGA TOUR may have taken a little bit longer but he’s eager to show his potential now he’s injury free.

“My path took a little longer which I’m okay with.  Bouncing around, being hurt multiple times, there’s definitely some doubt. But to finally get there (on the PGA TOUR), I always kind of knew in the back of my mind if I was healthy, my game’s good enough to compete out here, and most of this year I showed that,” he pointed out.

“It’s been a rocky road but I don’t mind being 30-year-old rookie. It’s an honour to call yourself a PGA TOUR member and I think just makes it that much better that it took me a long time to get here and I’ve finally achieved it,” Pendrith added at the 2022 Presidents Cup.

The most notable achievement to date for Pendrith came at the beginning of this month when he became the first Canadian to win the CJ Cup Byron Nelson since the tournament was established in 1944.

Pendrith holding trophy
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)

“I’m not a big history guy but Byron Nelson is a special name and for my name to be on that trophy is super special,” he said after making a clutch birdie putt on 18 to finish on top of the leaderboard by one stroke.

“It was a mix of emotions for sure with everything happening so fast. But I’m very happy that it did go in. Just tried to stay in my routine. Felt like my routine was really good this week, which I’ve been working on the last few weeks, so just did the same thing I did over every other putt,” added the talented Canadian golfer who is known for his power off the tee.

“It feels unbelievable and to see some of those names on this trophy it’s crazy.  I still can’t believe I’m a winner of this tournament.”

pendrith with trophy
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)

Pendrith has come a long way from the bright-eyed amateur who surprised many with his stellar opening round 10 years ago at the 2014 RBC Canadian Open.

Over the last decade, the married father of one has overcome challenges with injuries and has now solidified himself as a regular on the PGA TOUR – and also holds the distinction as a PGA TOUR winner.

Given his strong results recently, Pendrith, who will turn 33 later this month, appears to be peaking for homecoming and will be entering the RBC Canadian Open as one of the dark horses to hoist the historic trophy.

And what better way for Pendrith to celebrate his birthday than to have a strong showing in front of family and friends and be in contention for victory number two on the PGA TOUR – this time on Canadian soil.