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Healthy Pendrith posts solid opening round in Texas


Taylor Pendrith’s name has been missing from the upper portion of leaderboards for most of this season. It returned on Thursday, and the Richmond Hill, Ont., native is as relieved as he is excited.

Pendrith opened the CJ Cup Byron Nelson with a bogey-free, seven-under 64 that had him one-shot back of the lead held by Matt Wallace. His day was kick-started when he holed a 38-foot putt on the fourth hole for birdie and enjoyed the rest of the day stress-free.

“Made a long one on four and that kind of just jump started the round,” said Pendrith. “Played really solid. Didn't really have to scramble for par at all I don't think. Missed a couple greens but in an easy spot to chip it close, so overall great day.”

The round is a good indication that Pendrith is getting healthy after dealing with a shoulder injury that’s plagued his game for some time.

“I've been struggling with some shoulder issues all year,” he stated. “Actually, for a year and a half, which has been really frustrating for me. But it's starting to feel good, which is nice.”

The shoulder ailment has robbed Pendrith of his biggest asset, which is his driver. His length off the tee has slipped and he hasn’t felt comfortable trying to take a full rip at the ball as he usually does.

He’s undergone some non-surgical treatments for the problem which he said is calcific tendonitis, essentially calcium balls in his rotator cuff. It’s beginning to ease the pain and he’s starting to show signs that his game is on the return.

“I've been driving it nice the last three weeks and had some decent finishes the last two weeks,” he said, “and obviously off to a decent start here. But hitting the ball nice.”

After starting the year with two top 10s in his first three starts, Pendrith missed the cut in five of his next six tournaments. But the last two weeks, he’s posted ties for 11th. The latter one of those was alongside his long-time friend and college roommate Corey Conners last week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

“Mentally it's been difficult,” admitted Pendrith. “Getting back to kind of how I like to play golf I guess and can swing hard on the shots, so that's a good feeling.”