PGA Tour

Canada’s Hughes wins Sanderson Farms with birdie on 2nd playoff hole

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI - OCTOBER 02: Mackenzie Hughes of Canada reacts after putting in to win on the second playoff hole against Sepp Straka of Austria on the 18th green during the final round of the Sanderson Farms Championship at The Country Club of Jackson on October 02, 2022 in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

By: Associated Press/Golf Canada

JACKSON, Miss. – Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont, made birdie on his third time playing the 18th hole on Sunday, and it gave him a playoff victory over Sepp Straka in the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Hughes twice had to made tough par saves on the closing hole at the Country Club of Jackson, in regulation from 100 feet behind the green for a 3-under 69 to force a playoff and from a tough spot in a bunker to keep going.

“Yeah, I’m over the moon. I had some moments today where I was tested and was able to pull through,” said Hughes. “It’s kind of my MO a little bit to scramble and save some pars. I had to do that a little bit today on the back nine. I did everything I possibly could, just grinded my butt off, and luckily it was good enough.”

Straka narrowly missed his birdie putt on the second playoff hole from 18 feet on the fringe. Hughes hit his approach to 8 feet and made the winning putt.

The victory comes one week after the Presidents Cup, and Hughes was disappointed not to be included on the International team at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he lives.

He wanted to use that as motivation, and it sure worked out that way. Hughes won for the second time on the PGA Tour, both in a playoff. His victory at Sea Island in 2016 didn’t finish until Monday morning, and this looked like it might be headed there with fading sunlight on the last hole they played.

Garrick Higgo of South Africa had a 68 and finished third.

Straka finished two groups ahead of Hughes and missed birdie chances of 20 feet and 18 feet on the last two holes for a 67 to finish at 17-under 271.

Hughes twice came up clutch with his putter down the stretch, even if the putts were for par. He was out of position on the par-5 14th, his wedge over a tree back toward the fairway came up short in a bunker, he had to lay up again and escaped with a 15-foot par putt.

On the closing hole, he was well left off the tee and punched under a tree and over the green against the grandstand. After free relief, he used putter from 100 feet away off the green with perfect pace for par.

On the first playoff hole at the 18th, Hughes came up short in a bunker with only about 15 feet from the edge of the bunker to the pin. He blasted out to 5 feet and made par.

That sent them back to the 18th for a third time, and Hughes closed him out.

Mark Hubbard, who went into the final round with a one-shot lead, managed only two birdies in his round of 74 and tied for fifth.

The final round featured five players who had at least a share of the lead at some point. That included Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, whose round came undone on the par-5 14th when he took a triple bogey without a penalty shot.

Higgo never was part of the lead, though he lingered the entire day and missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the 17th that ultimately kept him out of the playoff.

PGA Tour

US wins Presidents Cup for 12th time with Canada’s Conners and Pendrith wanting more

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 25: Tony Finau of the United States Team shakes hands with Taylor Pendrith of Canada and the International Team after Finau won 3&1 during Sunday singles matches on day four of the 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Country Club on September 25, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By: John Chidley-Hill/Golf Canada

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith made Canadian history twice at the Presidents Cup and, although they’re disappointed in the result, they’re ready for more.

It was the first time two Canadians had ever played at the prestigious best-on-best tournament that sees 12 Americans take on 12 players from around the world, excluding Europe. When the longtime friends were partnered on Friday they became the first-ever Canadians to play together at the storied tournament.

But Conners, from Listowel, Ont., lost to Xander Schauffele 1 up in Sunday’s seventh match to clinch the American victory. Pendrith, from Richmond Hill, Ont., also lost his match in the event’s final round when he dropped a 3 and 1 decision to Tony Finau.

Ultimately, the United States beat the international team 17.5 to 12.5 for its 12th Presidents Cup title.

The Canadians were the only members of the international team not to earn a point over the four-day, five-session tournament. Conners said he was disappointed to not maintain the international team’s momentum in the final round.

“All the guys were ready to go today,” said Conners by the 18th green. “Some of the guys got some points early to keep us in it.

“I’m really disappointed not to be able to add to our total, but it was a fun week.”

The biennial event alternates between courses in the U.S. and international locations. The next edition will be at Royal Montreal Golf Club, which last hosted in 2007 when Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., had a legendary showdown with Tiger Woods in the final round.

“It’s definitely going to be a goal of mine to make that team,” said Pendrith, who like Conners made his Presidents Cup debut. “This week was great, and I’m hungry to get some points.”

The U.S. dominated the first two days of play, building a commanding 8-2 lead. But the internationals gained ground on Saturday, finishing the fourth session just four points back.

With the U.S. leading 11-7 and needing just 15.5 points to win, American captain Davis Love III was aggressive in his picks for individual play, putting Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth – his most consistent players – into Sunday’s first two matches.

That gamble produced mixed results with South Korea’s Si Woo Kim beating Thomas 1 up but Spieth topped Australia’s Cam Davis 4 and 3.

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama tied Sam Burns and Patrick Cantlay downed Australia’s Adam Scott 3 and 2.

Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz kept the internationals in it with a 2 and 1 victory over Scottie Scheffler before Pendrith and Conners lost their matches as the Americans clinched their title.

Finau jumped out to a 2 up lead in his match against Pendrith, but the Canadian answered back with birdies on the third and fourth holes to tie it.

Pendrith made a 33-foot chip in on the par-3 sixth hole for a birdie and his first lead of the match. He also birdied the next hole, but Finau birdied on Nos. 9 and 12 to tie the match, then pulled ahead with birdies on Nos. 13, 16 and 17.

“I felt like I played decent today in the middle of the round and had some chances on the back nine,” said Pendrith by the 17th green. “No. 15 stings. No. 16, I hit a good putt, but Tony played really good as well.

“He made seven or eight birdies or something like that. Can’t really do much about that.”

Schauffele and Conners were tied through the first five holes, but the American eagled and had a birdie on Nos. 6 and 7 to take a lead. He added to that when Conners bogeyed No. 10. The Canadian rallied with three consecutive won holes, starting with No. 12, to even the score.

Conners bogeyed the par-4 15th hole, which Schauffele parred, and the American held on the rest of the way.

“It was a good battle. I feel like every match I got down, every match I fought back,” said Conners. “Ultimately I came up a little short, but good stuff.”

Play continued, however, with the remaining matches being seen to completion. South Korea’s Sungjae Im bested Cameron Young 1 up. Billy Horschel conceded to South Korea’s K.H. Lee for a 3 and 1 internationals win.

Max Homa fended off fan favourite Tom Kim of South Korea for a 1 up win, Collin Morikawa beat Chile’s Mito Pereira 3 and 2, and in the day’s final match South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout downed Kevin Kisner 2 and 1.

Ryan Hart, the executive director of the 2024 Presidents Cup, said he hopes that Royal Montreal will truly feel like an away game for the Americans.

“All the structures will be wrapped black and gold,” said Hart, gesturing to the white-sheathed structures at Quail Hollow. “So (the international team) can come out and we can hopefully have the entire country feel like they are part of the international team and cheer them on to victory.”

The atmosphere at the Presidents Cup has changed in the 15 years since Canada last hosted the event. Organizers said that 40,000 spectators attended the Presidents Cup every day, a massive gathering for golf that was amplified because those crowds were concentrated around just four or five groups the first three days of the tournament.

Pendrith said that it was the most people he had ever played in front of but he feels like he rose to the occasion.

“Obviously, the stakes were really high. Lots of pressure,” said Pendrith. “But the first day, I feel like I handled it pretty well.

“Really, all week, it was a lot of fun, and it will be a good experience to move forward.”

Corey Conners PGA Tour Taylor Pendrith

Canada’s Conners and Pendrith bring chemistry to international team at Presidents Cup

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 21: Corey Conners of Canada and the International Team walks with the International team up the 18th hole during a practice round prior to the 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Country Club on September 21, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

By: John Chidley-Hill

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Finding chemistry on the eclectic Presidents Cup international team can be a challenge, but Canadians Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith are bringing their own spark to captain Trevor Immelman’s squad.

Conners and Pendrith played together on Golf Canada’s amateur teams before becoming teammates at Kent State University and were even the best man at each other’s weddings. They’ll be making their Presidents Cup debuts on Thursday as the best-on-best tournament tees off at Quail Hollow Golf Club outside Charlotte, N.C.

“To be here with him is really special, and if we have a partnership, I think we can certainly feed off of one another,” said Conners before Wednesday’s first-round draw. “If I hit a poor shot, I know he’s going to bail me out, and if he struggles on a hole, I’m going to be giving it my all to give us a chance to win the hole.

“We’re certainly great friends and have played a lot of golf together, so I’m very confident in his ability.”

Although Immelman split the Canadians up in the first round’s draw on Wednesday afternoon, it’s likely they will have a chance to play together at the PGA Tour event that sees 12 Americans face 12 players from around the world, excluding Europe.

Conners, from Listowel, Ont., will partner with South Korea’s Sungjae Im against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in the second match of the first round. Pendrith, from Richmond Hill, Ont., will team with Chile’s Mito Pereira against Tony Finau and Max Homa in the day’s fifth match.

Pendrith said he’s enjoying sharing the honour of playing on the international team with one of his best friends.

“To be with him is really cool and comforting,” said Pendrith. “He’s probably the person I’ve played my most rounds of golf with, ever.”

Conners was an automatic selection after finishing the PGA Tour season fourth on the international team standings. He rose up from sixth after Australia’s Cam Smith and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann jumped to the Saudi-backed LIV Tour on Aug. 30, disqualifying themselves from the PGA Tour-backed Presidents Cup.

Pendrith was officially selected by Immelman on Sept. 6 after he missed four months of the PGA Tour season with a fractured rib.

The two friends have very different play styles, with Pendrith renowned for his long drives and Conners considered a surgeon with his irons.

“To get paired with him would be great,” said Pendrith. “He’s obviously an unbelievable iron player. If I drive it well and set him up well, he can do his job in the fairways, and I think it would be a great pairing.”

On paper the Presidents Cup result seems like it could be a foregone conclusion.

The American team’s average world ranking is 11.58, while Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama – currently No. 17 on the world rankings _ is the highest-rated member of an international team depleted by the defections to the LIV Tour. The betting line reflects that, with oddsmakers putting the Americans as -700 favourites.

“We’re embracing (being underdogs). We’re ready to go. All 12 of us are ready to go. We’re here and we’re ready to battle, and it’s going to be a fun week.”

taylor Pendrith

History is also not on the internationals side. The United States has won the biennial event 13 times, with the internationals winning in 1998 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia and the two sides tying in 2003 at Fancourt Hotel and Country Club in George, South Africa.

Australia’s Adam Scott has played in nine of those losses and assistant captain Geoff Ogilvy, also from Australia, said those losses have served as a motivation for his countryman.

“He just wants to win it for everybody,” said Ogilvy, adding that Scott is like a fifth assistant captain. “It’s like he wants to win it for everybody who never got a chance to win one.”

However, the players on the international squad have combined for 33 victories on the PGA Tour, including Conners’ win at the 2019 Valero Texas Open. Assistant captain Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., said there’s a lot of positivity in the international locker room.

“The mood has been great. The guys are very enthusiastic. We feel they’re up for the challenge,” said Weir. “Their games look great. There’s a great buzz in our team.”

The next Presidents Cup will be in 2024 at Royal Montreal Golf Club, which hosted the event in 2007.

PGA Tour

Canada’s Conners qualifies for PGA Tour Championship with 5th-place finish at BMW Championship

CANADA'S COREY CONNERS SHOT A 69 IN THE FINAL ROUND WHILE FINISHING FIFTH AT THE BMW CHAMPIONSHIP ON SUNDAY. (ROB CARR/GETTY IMAGES)

By: Doug Ferguson

WILMINGTON, Del – Corey Conners orchestrated a late round charge, making birdies on three of his final four holes, to extend his season on the PGA TOUR.

Conners of Listowel, Ont., finished four shots back in a tie for fifth. Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., finished in a tie for eighth, while Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., finished in a group tied for 44th.

Conners qualified for the Tour Championship at East Lake, as he secured a top-30 ranking in the FedExCup Playoffs standings with the finish on Sunday. He is ranked 24th out of the 30 entrants.

The 30-year-old shot a two-under 69 in the final round.

“It’s always a goal at the start of the year,” Conners told TSN. “I feel like I’ve has a solid season. Still trying to get in the winner’s circle again, but a lot of really solid play, giving myself some chances, and really excited to be going back to East Lake.”

The Canadian also earned a spot on the International Team for the President’s Cup, joining Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet and Adam Hadwin as the only Canucks to accomplish the feat.

“Again, another huge goal of mine after missing out last time,” Conners told TSN. “Beyond excited. I think Trevor has been great trying to get the guys together, and he’s a great captain. Easy guy to get behind and really motivating.”

One good break. One great shot. That’s what it took Sunday for Patrick Cantlay to win the BMW Championship for the second straight time with a finish that was nothing like last year except for his clutch moments.

One other difference: The victory didn’t give him the No. 1 seed going into the FedEx Cup finale next week at East Lake in Atlanta.

That was of little concern to Cantlay after his birdie-par finish for a two-under 69, giving him a one-shot victory over Scott Stallings at Wilmington Country Club.

“I was glad not to go six holes in a playoff,” Cantlay said, referring to his unlikely playoff win last year at Caves Valley over Bryson DeChambeau.

This looked to be headed that way when Cantlay and Stallings were tied down the stretch, with Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele lurking.

Tied with two holes to play, Cantlay took an aggressive line to cut off the corner of a dogleg and figured he was headed for a cluster of bunkers. But the ball landed short of the last bunker, took a big hop over the sand, and tumbled into the first cut and rolled out to the fairway, just 64 yards from the hole.

“I thought hitting it on that line, it would for sure be in a bunker,” he said. “Got an excellent break — maybe one of the best breaks I’ve gotten coming down the stretch — and when you get a break like that you need to pay it off.”

That he did, hitting a spinner with a wedge that skipped and stopped 5 feet behind the hole for birdie and a one-shot lead. Stallings in the group ahead narrowly missed a birdie putt from just inside 10 feet on the last hole for a 69.

Cantlay needed par to win and fanned his drive into a bunker, the ball above his feet, 158 yards to pin on a steeply pitched green.

“I tried to slice an 8-iron about as hard as I could and went to about where I thought I could get it, and it was one of the best shots I hit all week,” he said.

His putt caught the lip of the cup, leaving him a tap-in, about the easiest shot he had all day.

Cantlay, who finished at 14-under 270, became the first player to win the BMW Championship in consecutive years since the FedEx Cup began in 2007. No one has ever repeated in any of the playoff events. The victory, his second of the year, moved him to No. 3 in the world.

He played all four rounds with Schauffele, and only later did he realize he could have used a little help from his best friend on tour. Schauffele (71) missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the last hole that would given him third place and moved Scheffler to fourth.

That would have made Cantlay the No. 1 seed, which comes with a two-shot lead before the Tour Championship begins. Now he will start two shots behind Scheffler, who had missed a short par putt on the last hole that ultimately didn’t cost him in the FedEx Cup.

Stallings has gone 238 starts since his last victory eight years ago at Torrey Pines, and he played like that drought might end. But he missed four birdie chances inside 18 feet at the end, the last one from just inside 10 feet.

The consolation prize is his first trip to the Tour Championship.

“That was the biggest goal of the year,” Stallings said. “Better late than never.”

Stallings wasn’t alone. Adam Scott is making his way back to East Lake. He was at No. 77 in the FedEx Cup when the post-season started and a tie for fifth last week moved him to No. 45.

Scott made eagle on the 12th hole and hit some superb lag putts on firm, crispy greens at Wilmington for a 71 to tie for fifth.

Needing a par on the last hole, Scott tugged his tee shot to the edge of a bunker, meaning he had to stand in the sand and try to hit out of a sticky first cut with the golf ball about thigh-high. He pulled that into a bunker, then hit a splendid shot to tap-in ran.

“I guess that’s the beauty of the FedEx Cup playoffs the way they are. You can scratch it around a lot for the year and have a couple good weeks and get heavily rewarded by getting to East Lake and being in that top 30 and all the perks that come with it,” Scott said.

Aaron Wise had a 73 and earned the 30th spot. He was among four players who moved into the top 30 who are eligible for the Tour Championship. The others were Stallings, Scott, Aaron Wise and K.H. Lee, who had a 65 on Sunday to tie for fifth.

Corey Conners PGA Tour Team Canada

Canada’s Corey Conners sits T2 after Round 2 of BMW Championship

By: Doug Ferguson

WILMINGTON, Del. – Adam Scott felt he was playing well enough that he should start seeing some better scores at some point. That moment appears to have arrived at just the right time.

Scott put together another tidy round Friday except for one hole _-a double bogey on the 17th – for a 2-under 69 that gave him a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the BMW Championship.

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler opened with three straight birdies and then cooled for 67, while Jordan Spieth’s hopes for a bogey-free round ended by a few inches when his tee shot caught the sticky first cut instead of the fairway. His bogey gave him a 67.

They were one shot behind, along with Cameron Young (68) and Corey Conners (67).

I felt like the last two days I’ve played really solid, gotten the ball in position off the tee, had a lot of good iron shots. Felt like I’m striking the ball well, and I’m just trying to give myself as many looks as possible.

Corey Conners

Scott, who was at 8-under 134, wasn’t sure how much golf would be on is plate in August. He was No. 77 in the FedEx Cup, not assured of even making it to the BMW Championship, until a tie for fifth last week in the FedEx Cup playoffs opener.

That was enough of a spark, and now he’s looking to cash in as one of the top 30 players who make it to the FedEx Cup finale next week in Atlanta for the Tour Championship.

“I’m in great shape going into the weekend. I don’t even know when the last time I led a tournament was,” Scott said.

He won at Riviera in 2020. His last 36-hole lead was at Doral for a World Golf Championship in 2016, which he went on to win.

“I certainly haven’t had my best stuff for quite a while. It’s been a battle for sure,” he said. “But that’s how this game is. I’d like to make the most of this position now over the next 36 holes.”

A brief look behind would remind him it won’t be easy, and the Australian knows this.

Spieth has looked solid over two days at Wilmington Country Club, with only one bogey in each round. He missed the cut last week and feels his postseason didn’t start until Monday when he arrived at Wilmington. That’s not just about trying to erase a bad memory.

Spieth headed to southern tip of Baja California after the British Open, wanting a break before the hectic finish to the season. One problem. Upon returning to Dallas, every course he plays was closed, and his only option was hitting from a stall in a practice facility.

Only when he arrived in Tennessee last week did he realize his swing had stayed on vacation, and his coach wasn’t available to join him until Delaware. He turned it around quickly.

“I feel like I’m doing everything good, nothing spectacular, but I feel like in every facet of my game, it’s trending and improving, and I know what to do to get it better and better,” Spieth said. “Certainly feels really good. Coming into the weekend, it’s a good opportunity to just have a lot of trust, focus on trying to win this golf tournament, not think about next week.”

Scheffler also missed the cut last week and joined Spieth and others at Pine Valley on Sunday. And then he opened with three short birdies, didn’t make too many mistakes the rest of the way and will be in the final group with Scott on Saturday.

Conner is at No. 29 and is in a great spot to protect his position for East Lake. Young seems to play great every week – twice contending in majors, five runner-up finishes for the season. One win would tick a lot of boxes on his list of goals.

Xander Schauffele holed out with a wedge on the 17th hole for an eagle and a 69, and he was in he group two shots behind that included defending champion Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy, who chipped in for birdie on his final hole for another 68.

Scott didn’t get a finish quite that good. He was sailing along on a warm, breezy afternoon when he pushed his tee shot near a tree. The lie was clean, but his punch shot toward the fairway hung up in rough. From there he didn’t reach the green or get up-and-down, and all that meant a double bogey.

“It’s a good reminder for the weekend that I’ve really got to keep it under control and don’t want to have too many get off the map and get out of position around here,” Scott said.

PGA Tour RBC Canadian Open

PGA TOUR’s 2022-23 FedExCup Season Schedule

Photo Bernard Brault, Golf Canada Toronto, Quebec: Sunday June 12th, 2022 RBC CANADIAN OPEN St-George’s GCC Final Round Tony Finau Rory McIlroy Justin Thomas

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – The PGA TOUR today announced its 2022-23 FedExCup Season schedule of 47 tournaments, featuring 44 Regular Season events and three FedExCup Playoffs events, culminating with the crowning of the 2023 FedExCup champion at the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, August 21-27.

As announced on June 22, qualification criteria for the FedExCup Playoffs have been revised starting in 2023, with just 70 players earning a start in the first Playoffs event, the FedEx St. Jude Championship, followed by 50 players advancing to the BMW Championship, with the TOUR Championship field remaining at 30 players.

Next season’s schedule includes record prize money and eight invitationals spread throughout with players competing for elevated purses ranging from $15 to $25 million. The bonus pools totaling $145 million include $75 million for the FedExCup, $20 million for the Comcast Business TOUR TOP 10 and $50 million for the Player Impact Program.

“We’ve heard from our fans and the overwhelming sentiment was that they wanted more consequences for both the FedExCup Regular Season and the Playoffs, and to further strengthen events that traditionally feature top players competing head-to-head,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “We feel strongly we’ve accomplished all of these objectives and more, creating a cadence of compelling drama for every tournament throughout the season. Each week has its own identity and purpose, and we’re set up for an exciting 2022-23 campaign as we transition into a calendar season in 2024 that will include a number of new and innovative competitive aspects in the fall.”

The 70 players who qualify for the first Playoffs event will be fully exempt for the following season as the TOUR transitions to a calendar-year season beginning in 2024 with the core portion of the FedExCup contested from January to August. Following the core FedExCup season, official PGA TOUR events will be conducted in the fall, where all players with status for the 2022-23 FedExCup Season will be eligible to compete. Those outside of the top-70 will compete for FedExCup points in a compelling, consequential final stretch to secure status for 2024.

Following the fall events, the TOUR will introduce a series of international events that include the top-50 players from the final FedExCup Points list, the top performers in the fall and additional eligibility as part of a limited-field, no-cut format. Further details on the fall events and the global series are expected to be announced later this year.

Highlights for the 2022-23 PGA TOUR Season:

RBC serves as title sponsor for two events, the RBC Heritage (April 10-16), held the week after the Masters Tournament, and the RBC Canadian Open (June 5-11), to be played for the first time at Oakdale Golf & Country Club in Toronto, the week prior to the U.S. Open (June 12-18) in Los Angeles.

PGA Tour

Taylor Pendrith finishes T2 for career-best finish at Rocket Mortgage Classic

DETROIT, MI - JULY 31: Taylor Pendrith of Canada plays the ninth green during the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club on July 31, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

By: Canadian Press

DETROIT – Tony Finau has changed the conversation about him in less than a calendar year.

Finau ran away with the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday at Detroit Golf Club to become the first player in three years to win consecutive PGA Tour events in the regular season. He closed with a 5-under 67 for a five-shot victory and a tournament-record 26-under 262 total.

It was his fourth career victory, and third title in 11-plus months. Finau began his stretch of success last August at The Northern Trust, where he had his first victory in five years and 142 PGA Tour starts.

“I’m proud of the way I’ve fought through adversity in my career,” said Finau, a Salt Lake City native with Tongan-Samoan heritage. “They say a winner is just a loser who kept trying, and that’s me.”

Finau ended a drought in Detroit, winning for the first time in six attempts when he had or shared the 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event.

And, he did it easily.

Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ontario (72), Patrick Cantlay (66) and rookie of the year front-runner Cameron Young (68) tied for a distant second.

“I wasn’t that close,” Young said. “Tony put on a show.”

Indeed.

Finau hit 66 of 72 greens in regulation, trailing the accuracy of just two players since 1980 in a PGA Tour 72-hole event. Peter Jacobsen hit 69 greens in regulation at Pebble Beach in 1995 and a year later, Willie Wood hit 67 at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

With Finau’s sixth birdie at No. 17 and a closing par, he broke Nate Lashley’s tournament record of 25 under set in 2019 during the inaugural PGA Tour event.

The PGA Tour will close the regular season at the Wyndham Championship, with the North Carolina event opening Thursday. Players on the bubble will have one last shot to finish in the top 125 of the FedEx Cup standings to earn a spot in the playoffs and a full card next season.

Finau and Pendrith started Sunday tied after a third round that seemed like match play, and a potential Detroit duel turned into a dud.

Pendrith had his first lacklustre round of the tournament after he shared the first-round lead with Finau, led him by one shot after the second and matched his 21-under total through three rounds.

The 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie from Canada hit an errant tee shot on the second hole to the right in the rough behind tree branches – after being distracted by a fan running across the fairway – and pulled a 9-foot putt on the hole to lose the lead for good.

Cantlay, No. 4 in the world ranking, had his third straight round in the mid-60s after opening with a 70. Young bounced back from a first-round 71 to finish second for the fifth time.

“I’d be lying if I said it was easy to just watch other people win,” Young said. “Obviously, today Tony beat us all by a lot.”

Pendrith struggled in the final round just as he did the only other time he had a 54-hole lead. He led the Bermuda Championship last October by three shots before a 76 dropped him into fifth place, which was his best finish before his showing in the Motor City.

“It stings a little bit,” said Pendrith, who played in his third tournament after missing nearly four months with a broken rib.

Finau began to pull away from Pendrith with an 11-foot birdie putt at No. 4 and a tap-in for birdie at No. 7.

A par-saving, 11-foot putt at No. 9 was pivotal.

“When that lipped in, that gave me some momentum and then I was in control of the golf tournament,” Finau said.

He made a 21-foot putt for birdie at No. 10 for his third birdie. After his first bogey in the tournament at No. 11, Finau made a 31-foot putt with a break from right to left at No. 12.

Finau was the 3M Open winner last week in Minnesota, where he rallied from five strokes back to win by three. Brendon Todd was the last PGA Tour player to win two straight in the regular season, pulling off the feat in 2019.

“A week can change your life,” Finau said. “When you look at mine, two weeks have changed my life.”

CHIP SHOTS: Three B.C. golfers had respectable rounds Sunday but were never in contention. Adam Svensson of Surrey finished tied for 24th at 12 under, Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford finished tied for 37th at 10 under and Roger Sloan of Merritt tied for 49th at 8 under.

PGA Tour Team Canada

Canada’s Pendrith stays T1 ahead of Rocket Mortgage Classic Final Round

DETROIT, MI - JULY 30: Taylor Pendrith of Canada walks off the 11th tee box during the third round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club on July 30, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

By: Canadian Press

DETROIT – Canada’s Taylor Pendrith could be on pace for his first ever PGA Tour title.

The Richmond Hill, Ont., native shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday to match American Tony Finau at 21-under 195 with a round left in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

A stroke ahead entering the round, Pendrith birdied four of the last five holes for a 66.

Pendrith was the second-round leader after setting the tournament 36-hole record at 15-under 129.

The 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie missed nearly four months this year with a broken rib.

Finau, the 3M Open winner last week in Minnesota, is trying to become the first to win consecutive regular-season tournaments in three years.

Rookie of the year front-runner Cameron Young (65) was four strokes back. He matched the Detroit Golf Club record with a 63 on Friday.

Stephan Jaeger was five shots back after a 65.

Patrick Cantlay, No. 4 in the world ranking, was six shots behind after a 66.

The duel in Detroit seemed like match play with Pendrith and Finau taking turns pulling and falling into ties and moving ahead.

Pendrith opened with six-foot birdie putt to take a two-shot lead. Finau pulled within a stroke on the next hole, making a 20-foot chip from the greenside rough for birdie.

“Stay hot, Tony!” a fan shouted.

Pendrith, who had his share of fans back home in Ontario, looked cool as calm as he bumped fists with two young boys as he walked to the third tee.

Finau pulled into the lead with a 15-foot putt at No. 3, then Pendrith pulled his three-foot putt to miss an opportunity to stay ahead.

Pendrith’s errant tee shot to the left on the par-5 631-yard fourth hole put him in the No. 6 greenside rough, leaving him behind several towering tees in his path to the green. He hit a shot 104 yards to the hole, an approach within 16 feet and made the putt to restore his one-stroke lead.

Pendrith took a two-stroke lead at No. 6, making a seven-foot putt that curled in the right side.

Finau equaled Pendrith at 18 under at the turn after making birdies at Nos. 7 and 8 while Pendrith missed a 1-foot putt and make bogey on the ninth hole.

Pendrith ended up behind a tree again at No. 13, forcing him to chip back onto the fairway and leading to a bogey that dropped him him into a second-place tie with Young.

Finau took a two-shot cushion with an eight-foot birdie putt at 14.

Pendrith, who won twice on PGA Tour Canada, bounced back from his second bogey with three straight birdies to pull back into a tie with two holes to play.

Finau went ahead at 17 with a birdie, and Pendrith tied it again with a birdie on the 54th hole.

If Finau can outlast the competition to win Sunday, he will be the first to win two straight regular-season events since since Brendon Todd in 2019.

PGA Tour Team Canada

Taylor Pendrith takes 1 shot lead over Finau at Rocket Mortgage

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JULY 29: Taylor Pendrith of Canada follows his shot from the ninth tee during the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club on July 29, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

By: Canadian Press

DETROIT – Taylor Pendrith grew up getting breaks from golf, putting the clubs away each winter in Canada.

That may have helped him when he had to miss nearly four months of competition due to a painful injury earlier this year.

Pendrith shot a 7-under 65 on Friday to take a one-shot lead over Tony Finau into the weekend in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Pendrith and Finau shared the first-round lead at 8 under and will be in the final group Saturday, pairing a 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie with a 32-year-old veteran coming off his third career victory.

Pendrith is playing in his third tournament after being unable to swing a club for 12 weeks due to a broken rib, a break that reminded him of his youth.

“We have a long offseason in Canada, so I didn’t touch a club all winter basically growing up so I guess I’m kind of used to it in a way,” he said.

Pendrith said matter of factly that he can compete with the best when he’s healthy and has showed that so far at Detroit Golf Club.

No one, though, has been better than Finau lately.

The Salt Lake City native with Tongan-Samoan heritage is 32 under over his last 107 holes, including rallying from a five-shot deficit last Sunday in Minnesota to win the 3M Open by three shots.

Pendrith tried to pull away in the second round in Detroit, opening with four straight birdies and six in his first 10 holes. He had two birdies and a bogey over the final five holes to finish Friday alone in first.

Finau, meanwhile, started slow with only one birdie on the front nine before carding five birdies on the back. He has a shot be the first PGA Tour player to win two straight regular season tournaments since Brendon Todd in 2019.

“Anytime you win, you breed confidence,” Finau said. “I was just happy to carry that confidence from last week right into this week.”

Pendrith and Finau had a bit of a cushion.

Rookie Lee Hodges (66) was three shots back.

PGA Tour rookie of the year front-runner Cameron Young tied a Detroit Golf Club record with a 63 for a share of fourth place – five shots back – with Russell Henley (65) and Stewart Cink (66).

Rookie Sahith Theegala (67) was another shot back in a pack that includes defending FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay, who bounced back from an opening-round 70 with a 65.

Davis Love III, the 58-year-old U.S. Presidents Cup captain, was in Detroit in part to play and more importantly to get to know players better on and off the course that may represent the country in September at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina.

Love missed the cut at 5-over 149, but made the most of an opportunity to have dinner with some President Cup candidates and to play two rounds with with Young and Will Zalatoris.

Young and Zalatoris, teammates at Wake Forest and close friends, may be paired together again in two months.

“If they make the team, they’re a natural,” Love said.

Zalatoris, No. 13 in the world ranking, perhaps felt pressure playing with Love because he barely made the cut. He had to birdie his 36th hole to get to 3 under, the cut line, with a pair of lackluster rounds.

If Young does not earn an automatic spot on the American team, he might be a captain’s pick.

“Cameron is trending up,” Love said. “Go back to Jordan Spieth. Nobody heard of him and next thing you know in one year he’s on the Presidents Cup team, and Cam’s headed that way, too. No one ever heard of him on the Korn Ferry and here he is, he almost won a major.”

Young had a runner-up finish at the British Open and at the PGA Championship, he missed a playoff by a shot. He has four second-place finishes, was third in two tournaments. And in Detroit, Young showed Love up close what he can do.

“I would hope that I made some kind of case,” he said.

PGA Tour Team Canada

Taylor Pendrith tied for the lead after first round of Rocket Mortgage Classic

DETROIT, MI - JULY 28: Taylor Pendrith of Canada waves his ball on the ninth green during the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club on July 28, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

By: Canadian Press

DETROIT (AP) – Tony Finau sent an approach from 250 yards soaring over trees and onto the seventh green at Detroit Golf Club, going for the reward and ignoring the risk with a difficult shot.

The way he has been playing over the last week, it made a lot of sense.

Finau, coming off his third career victory on the PGA Tour, and Canadian Taylor Pendrith shared the first-round lead at 8-under 64 on Thursday in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

The pivotal shot on Finau’s 16th hole, a 560-yard par 5, set up a two-putt from 43 feet for one of his eight birdies.

“I had to get all of it to get it to the hole and hit it right in the middle of the green,” he said.

The leaderboard was filled with players who took advantage of favorable scoring conditions with morning tee times. In the afternoon, the wind picked up and the scores did as well.

Former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, Michael Thompson, Cameron Champ, Lee Hodges and Matt Wallace were two shots back.

Si Woo Kim and Kurt Kitayama, both ranked among the top 70 in the world, were in the pack at 67.

Finau, who rallied from a five-shot deficit with 11 holes left to win the 3M Open by three shots Sunday in Minnesota, opened with a birdie and had five birdies on his front nine.

After cooling off with four straight pars, Finau closed with his seventh and eighth birdies in a bogey-free round. He hit all 18 greens in regulation for the first time in 728 PGA Tour stroke-play rounds.

“Do the math, I missed 10 putts,” he said. “Obviously, 64?s a very good round, but this is a golf course where a lot of guys are going to make birdies.”

On the par-4 eighth hole, he made a 41-foot putt downhill with a slight break from right to left for another birdie and a three-shot lead.

“It was nice to just get a bonus birdie on 8 after a poor wedge shot, but that’s why we call our putter the equalizer,” Finau said.

Pendrith, a 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie, surged into a share of the lead with five birdies in a seven-hole stretch on his back nine.

Toward the end of his round, the relatively anonymous player in the world noticed the `h’ in his last name was missing on the leaderboard.

Alas, the 8 under next to his misspelled name was correct.

“That’s all that matters,” he said with a grin.

Pendrith, of Richmond Hill, Ont., is atop a leaderboard for the first time on the PGA Tour following an opening round. The Canadian did have the third-round lead by three shots last October at the Bermuda Championship before closing with a 76 and finishing a career-high fifth.

In March, he was 13th at the Players Championship and came away with a career-best $327,222 _ and a broken rib.

The injury prevented him from competing for nearly four months, leading to him being ranked No. 237. He has bounced back with ties for 11th and 13th at tournaments earlier this month.

“When I’m healthy, I can compete with the best,” Pendrith said.

Surrey, B.C., native Adam Svensson sits at 3 under, while Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., and Roger Sloan of Calgary, both finished the day at 2 under.

Fellow Canadians Nick Taylor and Mackenzie Hughes sit further down the standings at 1 under and 2 over par, respectively.

Nate Lashley, who won his first and only PGA Tour title in Detroit four years ago, shot a 68 after getting an anti-inflammatory shot in his right foot.

“I’m having surgery next week,” he said, adding he will need four to six weeks to recover.

Mark Hubbard was also four shots off the lead after a topsy-turvy round with four birdies, two bogeys and an ace on the par-3, 216-yard 11th hole.

Hubbard dropped his club and his head after hitting his tee shot.

“That’s embarrassing,” he said while the ball was in flight.

The ball landed on the front of the green and rolled toward the cup before going around it and dropping in.

“That’s probably going to end up being one of my favorite hole-in-ones,” said Hubbard, who has nine career aces.

The field includes five players in the top 20, doubling last week’s total in Minnesota, and Finau was the only one of them to fare well in the first round.

Defending FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay, ranked No. 4 in the world, and 13th-ranked Will Zalatoris both 70. Cameron Young, ranked 19th, was another shot back and 20th-ranked Max Homa had a 72.