DETROIT. Taylor Pendrith took a break from golf as a child, cleaning her clubs every winter in Canada.
It may have helped him when he had to miss almost four months of competition earlier this year due to a painful injury.
On Friday, Pendrit hit 7 to 65 to lead Tony Finau by one shot at the weekend at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Pendrit and Finau shared the lead in the first round under 8s and will make it to the final group on Saturday, where the 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie will pair up with the 32-year-old veteran with his third career win.
Pendrit enters his third tournament after being unable to play with a stick for 12 weeks due to a broken rib that reminded him of his youth.
“We have a long off-season in Canada so I didn’t touch the club all winter while growing up, so I guess I kind of got used to it,” he said.
Pendrit has said that he can compete with the best when he is healthy and has demonstrated this so far at the Detroit Golf Club.
However, lately no one has been better than Finau.
The Salt Lake City native of Tongan-Samoan ancestry is down 32 over his last 107 holes, including a five-shot rally last Sunday in Minnesota and a three-shot win at the 3M Open.
Pendrit tried to break away in the second round in Detroit, starting with four straight birdies and six in his first 10 holes. He had two birds and a scarecrow on the last five holes and finished first on Friday.
Finau, meanwhile, started slowly with just one birdie on the front nine and then hit five birdies from behind. He has a shot at becoming the first PGA Tour player to win two consecutive regular season tournaments since Brandon Todd in 2019.
“Every time you win, you inspire confidence,” Finau said. “I was just happy to bring that confidence from last week right into this week.”
Pendrit and Finau had a small pillow.
Rookie Lee Hodges (66) was three shots behind.
PGA Tour leader of the year Cameron Young tied Detroit Golf Club’s record of 63 for fourth place (5 shots back) with Russell Henley (65) and Stuart Sink (66).
Full results from Rocket Mortgage Classic
Rookie Sahit Tigala (67) was another defenseman in a group that includes reigning FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantley, who pulled back 70 points in the first round with a score of 65.
Davis Love III, the 58-year-old U.S. Presidents Cup captain, was in Detroit partly to play and, more importantly, to get to know the players on and off the field who could represent the country in September at Quail Hollow in North America. Carolina. .
Love missed the cut with a score of 5 for 149 but took the opportunity to dine with some of the President’s Cup candidates and play two rounds with Young and Will Zalatoris.
Young and Zalatoris, Wake Forest teammates and close friends, could be back together in two months.
“If they get on the team, they’re natural,” Love said.
Zalatoris, ranked 13th in the world, may have felt pressure playing Love because he barely qualified. He had to hole his 36th hole to get to 3 below the cut line with a couple of lackluster rounds.
If Young does not receive an automatic spot on the American team, he may be selected as captain.
“Cameron is on trend,” Love said. “Go back to Jordan Spit. No one has heard of him, and the next thing you’ll know in a year is that he’s on the Presidents’ Cup team, and Cam is heading there as well. No one has ever heard of him at Corn Ferry, and here he is, he almost won a major.”
Young finished second at The Open and missed the playoffs at the PGA Championship due to a shot. He has four second places, was third in two tournaments. And in Detroit, Young showed Lava up close what he can do.
“I hope I’ve started some business,” he said.