Lily Pendy closes golf career at South with top individual performance

By: Thomas Franz | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 30, 2013

 South’s Lily Pendy earned an individual state championship with a cumulative score of 150.

South’s Lily Pendy earned an individual state championship with a cumulative score of 150.

Photo courtesy of Grosse Pointe South High School

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Going into her final hole at the state championship, Lily Pendy wasn’t aware that she had a six shot lead on the rest of the field.

It turned out that this may have worked in her favor, as she made par on the final hole at Forest Akers West to become top individual medalist at the state finals.

Pendy shot rounds of a 74 and 76 over the two-day tournament to lead Grosse Pointe South to a fourth-place finish in team competition.

With poor weather conditions for the second day of the tournament, South coach Mike Rennell said that Pendy’s ability to grind out pars as often as possible helped her win.

“Saturday was a grind because we were playing in pouring rain, so she just kept it together all day. She knew there was going to be a few bogies out there and that she wasn’t going to be able to do much about those, but she wanted to save par as often as she could,” Rennell said. “The 18th hole was probably her most nervous hole because she had no idea she was already six shots clear of the field, but she ended up with a par on 18 and came in and just waited for the results to come in.”

Her individual state title capped off an impressive career for Pendy. During her time at South, she was a four-year member of the varsity team, and she was part of the 2011 team that won a team state championship. Her teammate and cousin, Tenley Shield, has also been with Pendy on all of those teams, and together they leave a lasting legacy on South’s program.

“They’ve made a huge impact on the program. Our finishes at the state tournament have been in large part due to Lily’s and Tenley’s and them being great contributors. They really had a great run for our program,” Rennell said.

In addition to playing with her cousin, Pendy also played with her older sister, Ella, while she was at South. Ella currently golfs for the University of Michigan, and Pendy said that she is a source of great motivation on and off the golf course.

“She’s been a really big inspiration for me golf-wise and in school, too. She’s pushed me to become better overall,” Pendy said. “My family has pushed me because we all play, and they’ve really supported me and helped me.”

Although Pendy was already good enough to make South’s varsity team as a freshman, she made a dramatic improvement in lowering her cumulative score at the states finals from a 176 during her freshman and sophomore seasons to a 150 this year. Pendy and Rennell agreed that her short game improvement has been critical to her success.

“With high school golf, the courses aren’t super long, so I’ve really been focusing on shots 100 yards and in and my putting, especially putts 10 feet and in because that’s really key,” Pendy said.

“Her improvement this year was the ability to get up-and-down. She chipped better and was able to putt better. She really worked on her short game because that’s where you really improve your score,” Rennell said.

Pendy is hoping to continue her golf career collegiately at the Division 1 or 2 level, but she said there is still room for her golf game to get better.

“I want to become more consistent. At states, I had so many opportunities for birdies that I could’ve shot under par, so I just want to be more consistent and shoot under par and even par rounds more often,” Pendy said. “I think that comes with more tournament experience and a lot of practice.”

Pendy will continue to get that experience and practice through the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA). Pendy has traveled throughout the Midwest to play top competition from around the world to improve her game and maintain her competitive streak during the high school offseason.

“They’re very competitive tournaments. There’s people from around the world who come to play in the U.S., so it’s really competitive, and I think it’s helped me keep my competitive juices going,” Pendy said. “Since I’m competing against the best in the world, that really motivates me.”