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Pendrith captures first PGA Tour Title at CJ Cup Byron Nelson | The Sunday Swing

Pendrith captures first PGA Tour Title at CJ Cup Byron Nelson | The Sunday Swing

Pendrith captures first PGA Tour Title at CJ Cup Byron Nelson | The Sunday Swing

May 06, 2024

The Sunday Swing 
May 5th, 2024

Welcome back to another edition of the Sunday Swing presented by 2nd Swing Golf. This week in the world of professional golf, the PGA Tour was in Dallas at TPC Craig Ranch for the CJ Cup Byron Nelson while the LPGA had the week off. 

CJ Cup Byron Nelson - Tournament History 

The Byron Nelson has been around in the PGA Tour since 1944. Most golf fans have gotten used to this event being named the AT&T Byron Nelson, but as of 2024, CJ replaced AT&T as the title sponsor for the foreseeable future as they agreed on a 10-year contract. Throughout the years the tournament has been played at many different venues among many different names, with TPC Craig Ranch being the most recent. The 7,438 yard Tom Weiskopf design is an excellent venue for a tour event, despite just opening in 2004. Played as a long par 71, Craig Ranch features vast fairways and large greens, allowing for players to take it deep assuming the weather cooperates. When dry and firm, the course plays very fast and can be tricky especially when the wind picks up. 

With a signature event in the Wells Fargo Championship next week, a lot of the big names in the game elected to take this week off. Jordan Spieth headlined the field as he usually does ever since bursting onto the scene with a top-20 finish at this event at age 16 back in 2010. Throughout the years we’ve seen many players win this event multiple times with Tom Watson leading the way in all-time victories at four. He is followed closely by Sam Snead who won the Byron Nelson three times. The most recent five players to win this event are as follows: 

2024 - Taylor Pendrith (-23)
2023 - Jason Day (-23)
2022 - K.H Lee (-26)
2021 - K.H Lee (-25)
2019 - Sung Kang (-23) 

The Big Swing 

This week the Big Swing belongs to Canadian Taylor Pendrith. Pendrith came into the week playing some up-and-down golf on the season, but had some momentum with back to back T11 finishes before this week. With the Presidents Cup looming this fall, finding form and picking up his first victory this week would be timely for Pendrith. After a weather delay due to heavy rains on Thursday, the players came out to a soft and defenseless golf course. As the players began their tournament, it was apparent that scoring would be low as it typically is at TPC Craig Ranch. 

One of the many players to get out to a strong start was Jake Knapp, who won his first tour event earlier this season at the Mexico Open. He carded back-to-back 64s to start the week, showing his strength and reminding the field what he’s capable of. Pendrith also opened with 64 and backed that up with a Friday 67 to position himself firmly in contention. Another name swinging for a breakthrough win was Ben Kohles, the 34-year-old out of Virginia who turned pro back in 2012. He had immediate success on the Korn Ferry Tour that year, earning his tour card for the 2013 PGA Tour season. But he finished 148th in the FedEx Cup and had struggled to maintain status over the next ten years until earning PGA Tour status last fall. Kohles has made 12 starts this year, where he’s made 5 cuts and posted a T6 at the Puerto Rico Open. After opening this week with rounds of 65 and 66, Kohles was hoping to vault himself up the FedEx Cup standings with his best finish to date. 

On the weekend, it was more of the same at Craig Ranch. The players kept filling it up and making birdies with rather benign conditions allowing for aggressive play. Saturday was all about Pendrith, who surged to the top of the leaderboard thanks to a bogey-free 63 that included back-to-back eagle hole-outs on Nos. 5 and 6. Knapp also played bogey-free on Saturday, but was only able to make four birdies. Still, he was in a terrific position heading into Sunday. Kohles also maintained his momentum on Saturday, shooting 65 and playing himself into the final grouping on Sunday alongside Pendrith and Knapp. 

Sunday morning brought more birdies, a trend that continued all day and all week. Only four players who made the cut shot over par on the final round on Sunday, showing how easy the course was playing. 

The chase was on early allowing players like Alex Noren, Aaron Rai, and Ben An were able to surge up the leaderboard. All three of those players shot -7 on the day to finish in the top five. As the leaders made their way to the back nine, it was clear that it was a two horse race between Kohles and Pendrith. Knapp had struggled to get anything going on the front nine where he shot just -1, while Pendrith and Kohles shot -2 and -4 respectively. 

The pair remained close throughout the back nine and were really battling down the stretch. After Kohles made birdies at 16 and 17, he took a one shot lead heading into the 72nd hole. A sloppy bogey on the par-5 18th would prove costly for Kohles, as Pendrith was able to take advantage and make birdie to win by just one thanks to the two-shot swing at the last. This is Pendrith’s first tour victory and Kohles’ best career finish on the PGA Tour at solo 2nd. It’s worth noting that Pendriths win also secured him a spot in the PGA Championship in a couple of weeks.

Winner’s Bag - Taylor Pendrith 

Canadian Taylor Pendrith earned his first career PGA Tour victory on Sunday at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson. Pendrith plays a fairly unique build of clubs in his bag that features four different manufacturers. In the top of the bag, Pendrith games Ping metals- starting with the driver, a G430 LST (9 degrees). He carries two fairway woods, a G430 max 3-wood (15 degrees), and a G425 Max 7-wood (20.5 degrees). In the middle of the bag, Pendrith plays Srixon irons, playing the ZX7 MK II irons (4-9). Pendrith carries four wedges, all of which are the Cleveland RTX6 Tour Rack (46, 52, 56, and 60). On the greens, Pendrith has hopped on the wave and is rolling an Odyssey Jailbird Versa. 

Key Stats

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee- 6th 
Strokes Gained: Approach to Green- 38th
Strokes Gained: Around the Green- 3rd 
Strokes Gained: Putting- 14th 
Strokes Gained: Total- 1st