After a long summer of golf, Taylor Pendrith got his wish to say goodbye to the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada. Although he didn’t get the top spot on the Order of Merit, the Richmond Hill, Ont., product played well enough to earn a promotion to the 2020 Korn Ferry Tour.
He closed things out on Sunday at the Canada Life Championship in London, Ont., with a tie for 11th. After opening the tournament with rounds of 66 and 63, Pendrith’s putter cooled off and he posted scores of 72 and 69. He earned $4,331 for his efforts. That left him just $2,746 behind France’s Paul Barjon on the year-long money list.
The top finisher earns a full exemption onto the Korn Ferry Tour while the next four golfers on the ranking get conditional status.
While somewhat disappointed not to end the season on top, Pendrith was looking at the big picture of a solid season.
“Obviously I’ve had a great year with two wins and I’ve been playing some really good golf,” he said. “I started off great and didn’t have the weekend I was hoping for but I was there until the end. I was grinding. The putts didn’t go in today, but overall, great year. I’m super excited to be finishing in the top five and hopefully have a great year next year.”
A case can be made that Pendrith is currently the best Canadian golfer not on the PGA Tour. Although playing on a lower tour on courses that may not be as long or as difficult as what he’ll face next season, he was 147 under par in 12 tournaments, posting two victories.
Barjon, who was born in the French territory of New Caledonia but makes his home in Fort Worth, Tex., also had a stellar season logging two wins and eight top-10s in 12 starts. He ended up tied for 27th in the Canada Life Championship. He’ll return to the Korn Ferry Tour after playing it in 2017 without much success.
“Finishing No. 1 was obviously the target at the beginning of the year,” Barjon said. “Whether I could do it or not was definitely a question mark. You always want to be the first guy, but it’s hard to put that into your mind that you can do it.”
Pendrith wasn’t overly concerned about not getting the full exemption for next season. While he admitted there is some freedom with that status, he said his game should give him some security.
“If I play like I did this year, I should be in contention out there in some events,” said Pendrith. “It should be exciting, and I can’t wait to get going.”
A graduate of Kent State and former roommate with Corey Conners, Pendrith played the final event with a shoulder ailment. He received two cortisone shots to allow him to swing freely and wasn’t sure of the exact cause of the problem. He was planning on taking a week off before returning to Toronto to have it checked out.
Injuries are nothing new for Pendrith, who missed much of the last few seasons with a variety of injuries. This year he played pain-free, with the exception of the last week. That allowed him to earn honours as Canada Life Player of the Week six times and also collect the Dan Halldorson trophy as the top Canadian for the season.