The Punter

The Punter's De-brief: Long odds-on shots beaten in Texas and China

Taylor Pendrith
Taylor Pendrith with the Byron Nelson Championship trophy

Taylor Pendrith has won for the first time on the PGA Tour and Adrina Otaegui has won his fifth DP World Tour title. Our man's back to look back on their victories here...

Pre-event 130.0129/1 chance, Taylor Pendrith, led the CJ Cup Byron Nelson Championship with a round to go at Craig Ranch and he started nicely with a birdie at the first to double his advantage.

Jake Knapp, Ben Kohles and from off the pace, Aaron Rai, all got to within a stroke after Pendrith had parred his next four holes but a huge turning point came at the sixth hole when he holed out for birdie from a greenside bunker.

Pre-event 600.0599/1 chance, Kohles, who was matched at a high of 770.0769/1 when the market first opened, responded by making his third birdie in-a-row at six to get back to within a stroke and there was a two-stroke swing at the par four eighth.

Pendrith bogeyed after missing the green and Kohles rolled in yet another birdie to hit the front, but he didn't lead alone for long.

Pendrith birdied the par five ninth and the tournament developed into a two-man battle on the back-nine between Pendrith and Kohles.

Pre-event 110.0109/1 chance, Knapp, was matched at a low of 2.915/8 when he made back-to-back birdies at nine and ten to get to within one of the front two but he drove into the trees on the 12th and that was the end of his challenge.

After the back-to-back birdies around the turn, he bogeyed 12 and 13 to drop away as Pendrith appeared to be taking control.

After a birdie three at the 12th and three consecutive pars, the Canadian was matched at as low as 1.222/9 when he led by a stroke with just three holes to play but it was far from a done deal.

Kohles hit his approach on the par four 16th to just two feet and after rolling in his birdie there to tie, he was matched at a low of just 1.111/9 when he made another birdie at the par three 17th from 20 feet to hit the front.

Having seen his tee-shot roll off the front of the green, Pendrith looked like he might trail by two with one hole to play but his par save from seven feet circumnavigated the cup before dropping and the gap was just one.

With the easy par five 18th to finish, a hole that the entire field had played in par or better before him, Kohles looked like breaking his duck but after a reasonable drive and a second shot that found the rough in-between two greenside bunkers, disaster struck for the 34-year-old.

To his credit, Kohles' fourth shot gave him a chance to save par to get into a playoff with Pendrith, who made a straightforward two-putt birdie four, but his missed putt from just five feet was painful to watch.

It was great to see Pendrith secure his first PGA Tour title, but it was impossible not to feel for the unfortunate Kohles. With the title within his grasp, he was the only man to drop a shot at the 18th hole all day.

Sorry Soderberg lets another one slip

Having finished runner-up in back-to-back events in India and Japan, pre-event 22.021/1 chance, Sebastian Soderberg, led the Volvo China Open by three strokes after two rounds.

I thought he looked vulnerable and as highlighted in the In-Play Blog, I layed him at what looked like the halfway stage at even money, but poor weather and the threat of lightning put pay to play on Saturday and the tournament was reduced to 54-holes.

Soderberg shortened to a low as 1.434/9 when the announcement to shorten the event was first made before settling at between 1.68/13 and 1.75/7 ahead of the third and final round on Sunday.

A lead of three strokes with one round to go is obviously far better than three with two to play but I still felt he was vulnerable given his previous form in-the-mix and it wasn't long before the Swede's temperament was exposed.

He took a three wood for safety off the first tee and drove the ball into the trees to left of the fairway!

That led to a bogey five and after birdies at two and three, England's Paul waring was alongside Soderberg.

Waring was matched at a low of 2.6413/8 but a poor back-nine put pay to his chances and after a making three birdies in five holes from the ninth, that saw him move two clear of the rest, Soderberg looked to have wrestled back control and he was matched at a low of just 1.341/3.

Pre-event 110.0109/1 chance, Guido Migliozzi, who began the final round trailing by four, was matched at a low of 2.747/4 after he'd played his first ten holes in four-under-par and he'll feel like he really should have won.

The Italian missed short birdie putts at 13, 14 and 15 before birdying the par three 16th but he dropped a shot at the par five 17th and eventually lost by a solitary stroke when he birdied the last.

Trailing by five after round two, pre-event 50.049/1 chance, Adrian Otaegui, drifted form 17.016/1 to over 20.019/1 when the event was reduced to 54-holes, but he and Migliozzi emerged as the big danger to Soderberg on the back-nine, although the Swede still led by two with just four to play!

A poor drive on 14 led to a bogey five, just as Otaegui was making birdie at the par three 16th, and the Swede drifted out to 7.413/2 as Otaegui took up the running with a birdie at the par five 17th.

Soderberg drifted all the way out to 20.019/1 before he saved par at 16 from around 20 feet and he was backed back in to even money when he made a 25-footer for an unexpected birdie at 17.

Adrian Otaegui.jpg

With the Spaniard in the house on -18 after a brilliant bogey-free seven-under-par, Soderberg stood on the 18th tee tied for the lead but once again the pressure took its toll and after driving into the jungle left off the fairway, a double-bogey six saw him drop to tied third.

It was a brutal finish but it wasn't unexpected. He remains one to oppose in-contention.

Now read my Wells Fargo Championship here

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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