Taylor Pendrith fights through shoulder issue; grabs Byron Nelson lead

Taylor Pendrith has been dealing with an ailing left shoulder for over a year now, but that has not slowed him down at the CJ Up Byron Nelson.

He powered through the pain at TPC Craig Ranch, carding an 8-under 63 on Saturday to shoot up the leaderboard and into the lead at 19-under—the Canadian leads by one over Jake Knapp after 54 holes.

“Been playing some nice golf the last few weeks, and it’s nice to see it come together,” Pendrith said.

“I think I just need to stay patient and play my own game. I can’t get ahead of myself. Make as many birdies as you can because I think it’ll take a low one tomorrow.”

Pendrith’s went very low on Saturday, thanks to a hot start. After opening with a par-birdie-par start, he chipped in for an eagle on back-to-back holes at the par-5 5th and the short par-4 6th.

Suddenly, Pendrith found himself at 16-under par and in a share of the lead.

“It was nice to see those fall. The first one had a little bit of speed on the chip, and it hit the pin right in the middle, went around, and dropped into the hole,” Pendrith said to Amanda Renner on the CBS Sports telecast after the round.

“The second one was a beautiful shot that rolled in like a putt. Nice to get off to a great start through six holes.”

Pendrith cooled off somewhat after that, making only three birdies over his final 12 holes. Still, he did not make any bogies and is set on securing his first PGA Tour title.

“It will be a long day. Plenty of birdie opportunities,” Pendrith said.

“Getting off to a nice start helps. If I don’t, there is no panic. I’m just going to take it one hole at a time and know that I’m probably going to make some birdies at some point, hopefully.”

A win would send him to the Wells Fargo Championship—a Signature Event—and the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

Taylor Pendrith, PGA Tour, Byron Nelson

Taylor Pendrith walks off the 18th green after the third round of the 2024 CJ Cup Byron Nelson.
Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

But it would also help his chances of making the Presidents Cup, which will take place in his native Canada in September. Pendrith played for the International Team in 2022 as well.

“I haven’t had the best of years so far, but it’s a huge goal of mine, especially being in Canada, with Mike Weir as the captain,” Pendrith said.

“Two years ago was awesome. Getting back to that stage would be amazing, and even more special to be in my home country. It’s definitely a goal of mine.”

Pendrith has had an up-and-down season, partially due to his health issues. He has missed the cut in six of the 11 events he has played but also has four top-11 finishes.

His best result came at Torrey Pines, where he tied for 9th.

Perhaps his season improves drastically on Sunday. Should he go on to win, Pendrith will continue a running trend on the PGA Tour in 2024: entering the winner’s circle for the first time.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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