Penn Squadron III VS Marathon Guardian

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I've been in the market for a 9ft medium surf rod on a budget to give my old Okuma Avenger ABF40 a new home. Been trying to chase down a Penn Squadron III but came across the Marathon Guardian at the old unpatriotic ar15 hating hub of villainy, old slippery Dick's sporting goods. In the hands the marathon doesn't seem like a bad rod but that is in the store. I have yet to get my hands on the Penn for the old in store imaginary cow fight. Now on paper these things are very close in price and spec the same, 9ft medium 12-20lb line 3/4-3oz lure rating which is great because those specs are pretty much exactly what I'm looking for. Anyone have any experience with either? Seems like the Marathon is a love it or hate it rod but I don't exactly trust website 1 star reviews because little Timmy bought the rod for his first surf trip with his girlfriends family, didn't catch squat, then angrily closed the rod tip in the tailgate, which obviously made it the rods fault he didn't bond with his girlfriends father and broke all the rods in the truck.


My gut says hold out for the Penn, but my gut has been wrong before.

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I don't have the 9' Penn but I picked up the 7'6" Medium Squadron III 1/4-1oz for my dad for a trip in June.  For the money it was a great rod. It isn't as sensitive as the same spec versionof my Star Seagis rod but caught fish all week.  I'm not sure about the 9' but the guides on his were the Penn 1 piece stainless.  For $50-60 its pretty hard to beat. 

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