Record-breaking Taylor Pendrith grabs one-shot lead at Butterfield Bermuda Championship
Taylor Pendrith fired a record-breaking ten-under 61 to hold a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course.
Having battled his way to a respectable one-under 71 in the adverse conditions the previous day, the 30-year-old Canadian took full advantage of the diminished wind to begin clawing his way back up the leaderboard.
Teeing off from the 10th with a par, he shot back-to-back birdies, followed by a bogey on the 13th. Undeterred, Pendrith regained composure, firing a birdie and successive pars on the next three holes, before following up with an impressive eagle on the 17th as he went on to reach the turn at four under.
Building on momentum from there, his putter really lit up, with five successive birdies to start the front nine and join in a share of the lead with Patrick Rodgers, the American who had earlier shot a seven-under 64.
A par at the 6th was followed by his ninth and final birdie, to take a one-shot lead, before he held his nerve with a final par on the 9th to eclipse the previous course record and lowest round overall of nine-under 62 shot by Scottie Scheffler in 2019, as he finished up on eleven under overall heading into today.
“It was a great day and felt a lot easier then yesterday obviously,” said Pendrith, who shot a career-low round to ensure he has made the cut in each of the three tournaments he has played in his rookie season on the PGA Tour. “I got off to a great start and then followed the turn with five birdies in a row.
“I managed to gain some momentum, the putter was hot and everything just seemed to go in.
“I felt extremely calm all day and obviously I was just trying to put myself in as good a position as possible. It has been a dream start, particularly as I didn’t hit a single shot on the course from Monday to Wednesday, and didn’t see any of the holes. To be in this position is great.
“I have not played a whole lot of golf over the past two weeks because I got married, so I wasn’t sure how my game was going to be leading up to this event.
“Yesterday was purely about surviving and so it felt amazing to finish on one under; it was certainly a tale of two days.
“Today was much easier on the greens without having to play the wind, so that gave me a lot of confidence.”
Rodgers set the early target with the lowest score of the morning session, with a round that included six birdies and an impressive eagle on the par-five 7th, to reach ten under overall from his two rounds.
“The conditions were a lot more scorable today,” said the 29-year-old, who had to return to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals to get his PGA Tour card back. “Just looking at the forecast I knew there was a chance of having a good round out there.
“Some of the tougher holes were just a lot more scorable and there was definitely more control over your distance and to be able to have that control over your trajectory was just really nice.
“They set up the golf course a little bit tougher than from yesterday and there were still some very difficult shots out there, particularly the 16th, straight into the wind, but I was really proud of my ball control.
“I hit a tonne of greens and gave myself a lot of chances and so it was a really good round which was definitely well earned.
“It gives me great confidence heading into tomorrow but you have to always be prepared for unpredictable conditions around here. I’m sure we’ll get some more wind, and possibly some rain at some stage.
“It’s a long week of golf but I’m just excited to be so well positioned going into the weekend.”
Also well placed heading into the third round are the likes of Vincent Whaley on nine under, while Danny Lee and David Skinns found themselves a further shot back.
Peter Malnati, Lucas Herbert, Patrick Flavin and Justin Lower finished up on seven under, with a seven more players, including amateur Ludvig Aberg, one shot behind.
Brandon Hagy and Chad Ramey, who shared the one-shot lead after 18 holes, failed to build on their advantage in the calmer conditions but still find themselves in the mix on five under and six under respectively.
The cut was at even-par 142, and included Brian Gay, the defending champion, and Camilo Villegas, who has four PGA Tour victories to his name, who both progressed on the number.
There were however a number of notable names who fell short of the cut including former major champions, Jason Dufner on one over and Danny Willett, who struggled to a total of five over.
7.46: Jim Knous, Ben Kohles, Lee Hodges.
7.57: Brian Gay, Camilo Villegas, David Lingmerth.
8.08: Kurt Kitayama, Ryan Armour, Nick Watney.
8.19: Noh Seung Yul, John Senden, Arjun Atwal.
8.30: Sepp Straka, Seth Reeves, Scott Stallings.
8.41: Johnson Wagner, David Hearn, Mito Pereira.
8.57: Jonathan Byrd, Aaron Rai, Ben Martin.
9.08: Adam Hadwin, Russell Knox, Scott Brown.
9.19: Kyle Wilshire, John Merrick, Sahith Theegala.
9.30: Bae Sang Moon, Denny McCarthy, Brandon Wu.
9.41: Ben Crane, Greyson Sigg, Austin Eckroat.
9.52: Robert Garrigus, Matt Fitzpatrick, Hayden Buckley.
10.08: Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Stephan Jäger, Thomas Detry.
10.19: Scott Gutschewski, Garrick Higgo, Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
10.30: Luke Donald, Brett Drewitt, Max McGreevy.
10.41: Kramer Hickok, Dylan Wu, J.J. Spaun.
10.52: Mark Hubbard, D.A. Points, Dylan Frittelli.
11.03: Guido Migliozzi, Matthias Schwab, Davis Riley.
11.14: Patrick Reed, Séamus Power, Graeme McDowell.
11.30: Chase Seiffert, Sean O’Hair, Brandon Hagy.
11.41: Curtis Thompson, Ludvig Aberg, Adam Svensson.
11.52: Peter Uihlein, Chad Ramey, Alex Smalley.
12.03: Lucas Herbert, Patrick Flavin, Justin Lower.
12.14: Danny Lee, David Skinns, Peter Malnati.
12.25: Taylor Pendrith, Patrick Rodgers, Vincent Whaley.