Byron Nelson: Taylor Pendrith seizes maiden PGA Tour win amid Ben Kohles’ tragic finish

Four straight rounds in the 60’s helped Taylor Pendrith win his first PGA Tour victory at the CJ CUP Byron Nelson.

Pendrith fired off a 4-under 67 to beat Ben Kohles by one shot Sunday.

It was quite the dramatic finish, too.

Kohles carried all of the momentum coming into the final hole. He made birdie on 16 and 17 to go from one back to lead by a shot.

It appeared as though Pendrith was going to let his 54-hole lead slip away for the third time in his professional career, handing Kohles the maiden victory.

Then the par-5 18th played out.

Kohles chunked his third shot from the rough just off the green, failing to reach the putting surface.

It sadly left some fans calling it a massive choke job.

Meanwhile, Pendrith hit two great shots, setting up a lengthy eagle putt. Despite missing the eagle-3, he left himself with four feet for birdie and 23-under par.

Kohles hit a great second chip, but inexplicably missed his three-foot par putt. It was gut-wrenching to watch.

Pendrith then calmly drained his birdie for his first ever win on the PGA Tour in 74 tries.

“It’s crazy,” Pendrith told Amanda Balionis of CBS Sports. “Ben played great today and birdied 16 and 17. I didn’t hit my best iron shots down the stretch, but a good two-putt on the last was — I feel for Ben making bogey; he played so well today. I’m super thrilled. It’s amazing. I’m shaking.”

The Canadian had a rough season entering the week. He had recorded just two Top 10’s and four Top 25’s with six missed cuts, including five in his last eight starts.

Yet, Pendrith fired off the low round of the day Saturday with an 8-under 63. That elevated him atop the leaderboard heading into the final round of play.

He started with a birdie on the first and added another at the par-4 6th. The 32-year-old dropped a shot on 8 but birdied the 9th to turn in 34 strokes.

Pendrith kept it clean on the back nine, adding a birdie at the 12th before he made five straight pars until the final hole.

However, it was his par saves on 16 and 17 that proved to be crucial. He sank a couple of very tricky par putts that could very easily have ended his chances.

“I had a jumper on 16, and that first putt – I thought if I played it too high, it wouldn’t come back, so that was a huge save,” Pendrith said. “On 17, I hit a really good shot, and it spun off the front. I had an awkward stance, but I curled in that putt the last second there, which was unreal, to give me a chance. Obviously, a really good birdie on the last for me.”

With this victory, Pendrith moved all the way up to 34th in the FedEx Cup standings. He also earned his way into the remaining 2024 Signature Events, starting with next week’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hallow.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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