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Canada's Pendrith takes one-shot lead to Sunday at Byron Nelson

Taylor Pendrith Taylor Pendrith - The Canadian Press

Taylor Pendrith has the opportunity on Sunday to turn around his entire year. After a lacklustre season plagued by injuries, he’ll take a one-shot lead into the final round of the CJ Cup Byron Nelson.

On Saturday, Pendrith blistered TPC Craig Ranch with an eight-under par 63 that has him at 19 under, one shot ahead of Jake Knapp.

The round was highlighted by consecutive chip-in eagles on the fifth and sixth holes. The first was a short pitch that rattled off the pin and dropped. The second came after a 315-yard drive left him 41 yards from the flag on the par-4 hole. His shot landed on the green, skipped twice and then rolled into the hole with just enough steam.

“The second one, it was pretty basic pitch shot,” he said. “I was trying to fly it further than I did, but low, two hops, and kind of skip up the hill. Obviously a bonus to make that, but it was a really nice shot. Would've been a foot probably if to missed. That was a lovely shot.”

Those weren’t the only times Pendrith utilized his wedge for success on Saturday. He was four for four in scrambling and also got up and down out of one greenside bunker.

His putter has also been handy and he leads the tournament in putts per green in regulation at a silky 1.52. That’s been aided by him hitting it close. He needed to drain just 62 feet of putts in the third round.

But the driver has been the biggest tool in his kit for most of his career and it hasn’t been performing as he wanted for much of the season. This week, he’s found a groove off the tee.

“I usually drive it well and I haven't been driving it great,” admitted Pendrith. “The last few weeks I've found something with the driver. Got a new shaft. I think I'm just swinging it better in general. But driving it well and not, I guess, putting myself in awkward positions off the tee, which I had been earlier in the year. So just feel comfortable with everything and now that the driver is clicking, it's a nice feeling.”

This is the third time in his career that Pendrith heads to the final round with at least a share of the lead. The two previous occasions he ended up tied for second and tied for fifth.

It’s likely he’ll need another low round if he wants to notch his first PGA Tour win. His 63 was the low of the day. The scores have been deep into red figures all week and on Saturday, 62 of the top 70 players broke 70.

“I think just stay patient and play my own game and don't get ahead of myself,” said Pendrith of his Sunday game plan. “Make as many birdies as you can, because I think it'll take a low one tomorrow.”

A win would do a lot for Pendrith including get him a spot into the remaining Signature events and, likely, the next three majors. And while he’s currently well back in the standings, a win would also shoot him up the rankings for the Presidents Cup.

“I haven't had the best of years so far,” he admitted, “but it's a huge goal of mine, especially being in Canada, Mike Weir being the captain. Two years ago was awesome. To get back to that stage would be amazing and even more special to be in my home country.”

To prepare for his Sunday round, Pendrith was planning to settle in and watch his Toronto Maple Leafs in a seventh game battle with the Boston Bruins.

“Going to go home and get some food and watch the game,” he stated. “Be glued to the TV. I'm a little nervous, but they looked good last game, so hopefully do as good as Game 6 and be exciting.”