Taylor Pendrith has been one of the best Canadians on the PGA Tour for several years, but due to some bad luck he hasn’t played in the RBC Canadian Open in seven years and hasn’t made the cut in eight.
That changed Friday.
Pendrith, from nearby Richmond Hill, Ont., shot an even-par 72 in the second round of the men’s national golf championship to sit at three-under overall and easily make the one-under cut.
The 32-year-old said he expected more of himself in the second round, but he was pleased to see Saturday at the only PGA Tour event in Canada.
“I would have liked to make a few more birdies today, but yeah, to play the weekend in front of the home crowd’s going to be great,” said Pendrith, who had an up-and-down round that included four birdies and four bogeys.
“Hopefully, we have two more rounds to make some more birdies and move up the leaderboard and make it exciting.”
Pendrith made the cut at the 2014 Canadian Open at Royal Montreal Golf Club where he tied for 43rd at three-under when he was still an amateur playing at Kent State University.
He started strong that year with a first-round 65, slid into the weekend with a 75, and then finished with a solid 68 and 69.
“I was super nervous and I was super excited just to play the weekend,” Pendrith recalled. “Played pretty well on the weekend. But, I mean, so much has changed. I’m on the PGA Tour now, which was a goal of mine back then.”
Pendrith played in the Canadian Open the next year as a pro, but missed the cut at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont.
He worked his way up the men’s pro golf ranks, getting promoted from the Korn Ferry Tour to the PGA Tour at the end of the 2020-21 season.
The Canadian Open was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pendrith hoped to play in the tournament last year, but he fractured a rib while warming up at the Players Championship and missed months of the PGA Tour season, including the one home event on the calendar.
When Pendrith returned to competition late last summer, he rocketed up the FedEx Cup standings and earned an invitation to the prestigious Presidents Cup, joining friend Corey Conners on the International team.
That long journey brought him back to the 2023 Canadian Open where, at last, he has once again made the cut at Oakdale Golf and Country Club. He was tied for 32nd after two rounds.
“To play the weekend for the first time as a PGA Tour member at the Canadian Open’s going to be great,” Pendrith said. “There’s tons of support out there today and I expect it to get a little crazier tomorrow, which will be great. So happy to be here.”
Pendrith will have lots of Canadian company Saturday.
Corey Conners (69) of Listowel, Ont., was a shot off the lead at eight under, followed by Adam Hadwin (68) of Abbotsford, B.C., and Roger Sloan (70) of Merritt, B.C., who both tied for 17th at five-under.
Edmonton’s Wil Bateman (66), playing in his first Canadian Open, was tied for 23rd at four-under. Vancouver’s Stuart Macdonald (68) was tied with Pendrith.
Canadian Golf Hall of Famer Mike Weir (70) of Brights Grove, Ont., and Nick Taylor (67), also from Abbotsford, were tied for 48th at two-under.
Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., and Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., were two of Canada’s biggest names to miss the cut.
Ben Silverman of Thornhill, Ont., Aaron Cockerill of Stony Mountain, Man., Étienne Papineau of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., Johnny Travale of Stoney Creek, Ont., David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., Taylor Durham of North Vancouver, B.C., Myles Creighton of Digby, N.S., as well as Toronto’s Sebastian Szirmak, Daniel Kim and Drew Nesbitt also fell short of the cut.