Sam Ryder of the U.S. prevailed in a sudden-victory playoff over Canadian Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill on Sunday at Hylands Golf Club to win the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops.
Ryder’s first Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada victory moves him to second position on the Order of Merit with four events to go in the 2015 season, in position to earn status on the Web.com Tour for next season. “I’m at a little bit of a loss for words right now, but it feels really good,” said Ryder. “I was already in great shape and had some really solid finishes this year. This feels really good and I think it solidifies myself as one of the contenders out here for sure.”
Ryder and Pendrith began the day tied for the lead, and went back-and-forth for much of the day, trading birdies, with both players shooting bogey-free rounds of 5-under 66. After returning to the 18th hole for a sudden-victory playoff, Pendrith had a 10-foot birdie putt to win, but hit it through the break and missed a short comebacker to make bogey. A four-foot par putt was all that separated Ryder from his first Mackenzie Tour win, and the Stetson University grad poured it in to secure the title.
“It was hard to watch the [Pendrith’s] birdie putt. Honestly, I just wasn’t expecting him to miss that second one. I didn’t really want it to end like that, but I’ll take it,” said the 25-year-old Ryder, a second-year member on the Mackenzie Tour. “You couldn’t really draw it up better than the way we went back-and-forth all day with no bogeys through 18 regulation holes. It was just a lot of good golf from both of us, and a lot of pressure and a lot of fun.”
For Ryder, who entered the week 11th on the Order of Merit, the win affirms what has been a breakthrough season, with three prior top-10 finishes. “Until you win, you don’t know for sure. You assume your game’s good enough and you get yourself in contention, but until you actually finish it off and close the deal, you don’t really know. It’s nice to get a little monkey off my back,” said Ryder.
With his fourth consecutive top-five finish, J.J. Spaun maintained his spot atop the Order of Merit on Sunday. Spaun has yet to finish worse than T16 this season on the Mackenzie Tour. Below are the top five on the Order of Merit through the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops (bold denotes Canadian):
1. J.J. Spaun – $76,409
2. Sam Ryder – $55,173
3. Drew Weaver – $44,988
4. Kevin Spooner – $40,639
5. Albin Choi – $40,079
With his total score of 20-under, Pendrith claimed Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week honours on Sunday along with a $2,500 prize. Each week, the top Canadian on the leaderboard will earn the award, with the top Canadian on the Order of Merit at season’s end earning the Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year and a $25,000 prize.
Pendrith wins the award for the second time, joining his other playoff loss at the PC Financial Open in May. Along with fellow Canadians Adam Svensson, Corey Conners, Albin Choi and Matt Hill, Pendrith is a member of Freedom 55 Financial’s Team Freedom.
Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada