PGA Tour rookie Pendrith extends Bermuda Championship lead

By Sports Desk October 30, 2021

Taylor Pendrith strengthened his grip on the Bermuda Championship after moving three strokes clear at the end of the third round on Saturday.

After storming into the lead via his tournament record 61 on Friday, Canadian golfer Pendrith maintained his place atop the summit following the conclusion of the penultimate round.

PGA Tour rookie Pendrith carded a six-under-par 65 to be 17 under through 54 holes, above Danny Lee (65) heading into Sunday's final round at Port Royal Golf Course.

After bogeying the fifth hole, Pendrith was flawless from that point as the 30-year-old reeled off three straight birdies prior to the turn before gaining further strokes at the 10th, 13th, 16th and 17th holes.

"I knew I was going to get on a run at some point during the round," said Pendrith, who went seven under on his last 12 holes. "Was able to get four in a row and kind of really jump start the round."

New Zealand's Lee moved into outright second thanks to his solid day, which featured eight birdies and two bogeys in Southampton Parish, Bermuda.

Lucas Herbert of Australia climbed up to third, four shots behind Pendrith, thanks to his six-under-par 65.

Should either Pendrith, Lee or Herbert win the Bermuda Championship, it would mark the fourth non-American winner in as many weeks on the PGA Tour.

Patrick Rodgers (69) and Vincent Whaley (68) are tied at 12 under, while former Masters champion Patrick Reed – the highest ranked player in the field – finds himself nine strokes off the pace following a third-round 68.

Defending champion Brian Gay is a shot further back after posting a seven-under-par 64 to climb 41 positions.

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    After a record 19-9 defeat at Whistling Straits in 2021, Donald has the unenviable task of trying to maintain the hosts’ 30-year unbeaten record on home soil.

    On paper the Americans have the superior team, with 10 of their 12 players currently in the world’s top 20, and even though Europe have three of the top four, Donald is aware of the challenge which awaits in Italy .

    “I know it’s going to be a difficult next few days, it really is. The US are very strong. We know that,” he said at a press conference at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.

    “We are coming off our worst defeat ever in a Ryder Cup. US players are strong, high up in the world rankings and they have some great partnerships and have had a lot of success.

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    Marco Simone is likely to prove a testing layout for both teams due to the weather forecast for the week – temperatures are expected to hit 29 degrees Celsius over the three days – and the undulations and big elevation changes around the course.

    Donald has not ruled out some of his players featuring in all five sessions but is more confident that no-one, not even rookies Ludvig Aberg, Robert MacIntyre, Sepp Straka and Nicolai Hojgaard, will be left on the bench until Sunday’s singles.

    “In terms of playing five, I think there’s some guys that certainly could do that, and we have done that in the past. This is a very tiring, taxing golf course,” he added.

    “It’s a long build-up so I’m wary of some of that. I’ll certainly be considering that but it’s not out of the question that some people might play five.

    “I very much doubt that someone wouldn’t play until the Sunday singles.”

    Unusually Donald has opted to begin the first two days with the foursomes format and leave the fourballs until the afternoon.

    While the Americans traditionally pick that option when it is their honour, it is the first time since 1993, the last time Europe lost on home soil, that it will be played that way on this side of the Atlantic.

    “It’s pretty simple really. We feel like as a team, statistically we are stronger in foursomes within our team than we would be in fourballs,” said Donald.

    “Why not get off to a fast start? That’s it.”

    USA captain Zach Johnson was asked whether he had second thoughts about his captain’s picks after the overlooked Bryson DeChambeau won his second LIV event in successive months on Sunday.

    Brooks Koepka is the only player from the Saudi breakaway league to feature in the team having qualified by virtue of his performances in majors after winning the US PGA Championship and finishing second in the Masters.

    On Sunday DeChambeau said it would have been “nice to have a call” but Johnson has freely admitted he paid no attention to the LIV Golf tour and so the 30-year-old was never on his radar, finishing 54th on USA’s qualifying list.

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    “When it got down towards the end of the process, it was the top 20, the top 25 guys in that point system that I felt like had the merit and should have my full attention.”

    Johnson also confirmed there would be no morale-boosting last-minute visit from Tiger Woods, who is still recovering from ankle surgery, despite him being part of the process this year and the 15-time major winner would be relegated to the role of cheerleader from back home.

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    “At this point it’s more encouragement on his side, whether he’s texting the guys or texting the vice-captains and captains, he’s there to encourage because he’s very invested in what we do year-in and year-out with Team USA.

    “We are going to utilise his knowledge and his wisdom, his candour and his passion the best we can but when it comes to the week of the tournament, if you’re not in on it and inside the team room, inside the ropes, shoulder-to-shoulder with these guys, it’s not fair to ask him questions.

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    “I’m so happy just to do this for Suzann, for Spain, I’m just so proud,” Ciganda told Sky Sports.

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    Straka was asked to compete in the Hero Cup in Abu Dhabi in January, a team event between Continental Europe and Great Britain and Ireland which it was felt necessary to revive in the wake of 2021’s record Ryder Cup defeat.

    The only problem was that the Austrian was contesting the Sentry Tournament of Champions the week beforehand in Hawaii, which meant undertaking an epic journey across 14 time zones.

    “Francesco (Molinari, captain of Continental Europe) was the first person to talk to me about the trip,” Straka told the PA news agency.

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    “It’s been an incredible ride,” said Straka, whose family moved from Vienna to Georgia when he was 14  – he went on to play on the University of Georgia with twin brother Sam.

    “Kind of all started by winning the Honda (Classic) last season and thankfully I was able to ride that and gain confidence and just keep improving my golf game.

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