By Mike Meiler
Niagara Gazette —
It wasn’t coming from across the border, though — the sound could be traced back to Niagara Falls Country Club, where the field of the 55th Porter Cup was serenading 22-year-old Richmond Hill, Ont. native Taylor Pendrith.
Pendrith shot a 67 Saturday to win the tournament, becoming the third Canadian to win the Cup and the first in 29 years.
“It’s starting to sink in but it’s still very overwhelming,” he said. “Just to look at the names who’ve won this tournament is pretty awesome. I feel very privileged and it feels very special to win this tournament.”
Pendrith entered Saturday with a one-stroke lead over fellow Canadian Justin Shin, but that was as close as it would get. Shin bogeyed three of his first six holes, and a trio of consecutive birdies on 5-7 extended Pendrith’s lead to six.
He would finish with a four-day total of 164, tied for the third lowest in tournament history.
Pendrith said he didn’t see the win coming.
“I hadn’t been playing particularly well coming into this tournament,” he explained. “I had three weeks where I haven’t really played my best golf and I’ve just been struggling. I said, ‘Well, you haven’t been playing good, you might as well go out and try to shoot a lot under par,’ and it worked. I’m pretty pleased.”
The Kent State Golden Flash, who was named the 2012-13 Mid-American Conference Golfer of the Year, called the win the best of his career. He’ll finish his summer playing in the Canadian Amateur before heading back to school for his senior season.
Tyler Dunlap, who entered Saturday three strokes behind Pendrith in third place, shot a 1-under 69 and finished second with a four-day total of 269.
The Trophy Club, Texas product led after round two but had trouble with his driver on Friday and Saturday.
“I think I only hit one fairway in my last 32 holes,” he said. “It’s hard to get a lot going when you’re constantly hitting out of trees and out of the rough.
“I didn’t give myself the best opportunities to make a run at it, but all the best to Taylor. He shot 16-under for four rounds, that’s really good playing. ... I’m not necessarily happy with the way it turned out, but I’ll come back next year and play better.”
Shin tied with Australian Brady Watt for third with a 10-under 270. He said he was proud of Pendrith, who he plays with on the Canadian national team.
“I definitely didn’t play my best,” he said. “I actually hit the ball better than yesterday, but I had a bad break a couple of times. The whole day, putts didn’t drop at all. I had a couple chances, but it didn’t fall in.
“I’m glad (Taylor) won it because we’re good buddies. It’s a good thing a Canadian won it. I’m glad for him, and hopefully next year I’ll come back and maybe I can be the second (straight).”
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FINAL PORTER CUP LEADERBOARD
1 Taylor Pendrith -16
2 Tyler Dunlap -11
T3 Brady Watt -10
T3 Justin Shin -10
5 Toni Hakula -8
T6 Kramer Hickok -7
T6 Denny McCarthy -7
T8 Tim Crouch -6
T8 Max Homa -6
T8 Alejandro Tosti -6Follow Gazette sports reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler for updates on your local teams.