Closing birdie lifts Pendrith to first PGA Tour title at CJ Cup Byron Nelson

golf06 May 2024 03:00| © AFP

Taylor Pendrith birdied the final hole to seize his first US PGA Tour title at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson ahead of Ben Kohles, who bogeyed 18 for an agonising runner-up finish.

Kohles, chasing a first PGA title after topping the developmental Korn Ferry Tour standings last season, had made back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17 to pull one stroke ahead of overnight leader Pendrith, draining a 19-footer at the par-three 17th.

Pendrith had saved par at both holes and with Kohles in trouble at 18, the Canadian landed his second shot 41 feet from the pin and two-putted for birdie, calmly rolling in a three-footer to cap a four-under-par 67 that gave him a 23-under total of 261.

"Crazy," Pendrith said. I feel for Ben making bogey. He played so well today but (I'm) super-thrilled. It's amazing."

Kohles's bogey at 18 was not only his first of the day but the first of the day at the easiest hole on the course.

His third shot from the greenside rough hit a mound and dropped into an even worse lie and his five-footer to save par slid past, the two-shot swing giving Pendrith the win.

"Of course it stings, right?" Kohles said. "You feel like you had it right there and let it slip away."

Kohles said that after his first chip at 18 he faced "a pretty screwed shot" for his second, and he was pleased to give himself a chance to save par.

"Feel like I hit a pretty good putt," he said.

"Did so many good things this week, and I'm just going to keep reminding myself of that and try to get myself back in this position," said Kohles, who closed with a five-under 66 for 262, one stroke ahead of Sweden's Alex Noren who carded a 65.


Pendrith, 32, had five birdies and a bogey to claim his first victory in 74 tour starts, his previous best finish a runner-up spot in Detroit in 2022.

Kohles, who started the day two shots back, didn't make it easy.

The 34-year-old American launched a run of three straight birdies with a 32-foot putt at the fourth hole. He rolled in a 15-footer at the fifth and an eight-footer at the sixth.

Pendrith, with birdies at the first and sixth – where he holed out from a bunker – had a one-shot lead as they arrived at the eighth, where he was unable to get up and down from a bunker and his bogey coupled with Kohles's nine-foot birdie saw Kohles take a one-stroke lead.

Pendrith regained the lead with birdies at the ninth and 10th, setting the stage for the tense final holes.

English 16-year-old amateur Kris Kim, the youngest player to make a PGA Tour cut since 2015, had his first over-par round of the week with a closing 73 to finish 65th out of 66 players to make the cut.

Kim admitted that fatigue was a factor on Sunday but said the whole experience had only whetted his appetite for tournament golf.

"It's been quite a bit of adrenaline and everything," he said. "It's been really good. Just makes me want to come back even more."