Pendrith leads Finau by one shot at Rocket Mortgage


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

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

Pendrith fired 7-under 65 Friday to provide a one-shot lead over Tony Finau over the weekend at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Pendrith and Venau shared the first-round lead with an eight-under-eight and will be in the last group on Saturday, pairing a 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie with a 32-year-old veteran who took his third win of his career.

Pendrith is playing in his third championship after being unable to swing the club for 12 weeks due to a broken rib, a fracture that reminds him of his youth.

“We have a long vacation in Canada so I haven’t touched any club all winter so I guess I’m kind of used to it,” he said.

Pendrith has actually said he can compete with the best when he’s healthy and he’s shown that so far at Detroit Golf Club.

Despite this, no one has been better than Finau lately.

The Salt Lake City native of Tonga and Samoan ancestry is 32 under the last 107 holes, including recovering from a five-shot delay last Sunday in Minnesota to win the 3M Open by three shots.

Pendrith tried to get away in the second round in Detroit, opening with four straight birds and six on the first 10 holes. He had two flyers and a bogey over the last five holes to finish Friday alone in first place.

Meanwhile, Finau started slow with only one bird in the front nine before passing five birds on the back. He has a chance to be the first player on the PGA Tour to win two consecutive regular season championships since Brendon Todd in 2019.

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

Pendrith and Venau had a bit of a pillow.

Rookie Lee Hodges (66) was behind with three shots.

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

Rookie Sahith Thigala (67) was another shot in the pack that includes FedEx Cup champion defender Patrick Cantlay, who bounced off the opening round 70 with a 65.

Davis Love III, the 58-year-old US Presidents Cup captain, was partly in Detroit to play and more importantly to get to know players better on and off the track who could represent the country in September at Quail Hollow in North Carolina.

Love missed the cut at 5 to 149, but took the opportunity to dine with some of the President’s Cup candidates and play two rounds with Young and Will Xalatores.

Young and Zalatores, Wake Forest’s teammates and close friends, may be paired up again in a couple of months.

“If they made the team, they would be natural,” Love said.

Zalatoris, ranked 13th in the world rankings, may have felt the pressure of playing with Love as he barely made the cut. He had to fly his 36th hole to get to 3 down, the cut-off line, with a pair of fading rounds.

If Young doesn’t automatically earn a spot on the U.S. team, he may be the captain’s pick.

“Cameron is going uphill,” Love said. “Go back to Jordan Spieth. Nobody’s ever heard of him and the next thing you know in a year is he’s a member of the Presidents Cup team, and Cam headed that way too. Nobody’s ever heard of him on the Korn Ferry and lo and behold, he almost won a major.”

Taking second place at the British Open and at the PGA Championship, Young missed the playoff with a shot. He finished second in four times, and was third in two championships. And in Detroit, Young showed love up close what he can do.

“I hope I’ve made a case,” he said.

Follow Larry Lage at

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