Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., posted the low round of the day with a seven-under 63 on Saturday to share the 54-hole lead with American Jason Millard at the Freedom 55 Financial Championship, the season finale for the Mackenzie Tour–PGA Tour Canada.
In addition to crowning the Freedom Financial 55 Championship winner Sunday at Highland Country Club in London, Ont., the tournament will finalize the Order of Merit, with the top five players on the money list earning Web .com Tour status for 2016.
The current Order of Merit leader, J.J. Spaun entered the day tied for second, but fell off the pace with a three-over-par 73 and was tied for 20th at the end of the third round.
Despite not having a victory this season, Pendrith entered the week fourth on the money list, with three runner-up finishes, all playoff losses. He hopes to draw on the positives from those playoffs come Sunday.
“I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to win,” he said. “I’ve learned a whole lot about trying to finish it off all summer and hopefully, I can get it done (Sunday). I haven’t come out on to yet but that will hopefully change tomorrow.”
The round featured wet and blustery conditions, with winds up to 50 km/hour and Pendrith credited his putter for getting him off to a hot start.
“I made a lot of putts and hit it pretty close all day. It was really difficult out there, but I was able to get off to a good start (four under through four holes), which really helped given the conditions,” said Pendrith.
One day after posting a 7-under-par 63 to take the 36-hole lead, Millard managed just one birdie over his first nine holes. That changed on the back nine, as he birdied No. 10 and followed that up with an ace on No. 11 with a five iron from 192 yards. He finished with a round of 67 and a share of the lead.
“With the wind and the rain and the conditions, it was tough, I hadn’t played in anything like that in a while,” said Millard.
“I made some good par saves on the front that gave me some momentum. I haven’t been in this position in a while and I felt pretty calm all day. I know there will be some nerves tomorrow, but I feel good heading into tomorrow,” he said.
Vancouver’s Ryan Williams is third at 12 under after his second consecutive round of 65. He won last year’s Freedom 55 Financial Championship up the road at Sunningdale Golf and Country Club.
Max Gilbert of Saint-Georges, Quebec, is making another late-season charge, as the 2013 Freedom 55 Financial Championship winner is three shots back in fourth place.
Gilbert tied for 10th last week at the Cape Breton Classic to move into the top 60 and qualify for the Freedom 55 Financial Championship.
Click here for this week’s leaderboard.