Conners, the U.S. Amateur runner-up from Listowel, Ont., opened with a 6-under 66. Pendrith, from Richmond Hill, Ont., added to 68 to match Sweden and Switzerland at 10-under 144 on Karuizawa 72 Golf East's Iriyama Course. Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., had a 69, with only the top two scores counting in the team total.
"We're not going to try to do anything crazy," said Conners, who shared 2014 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year honours with roommate Pendrith. "We're just going to stick to our game plan and try to play to our strengths."
Pendrith bogeyed the final two holes.
Marcus Kinhult led Sweden with a 65, and Hannes Ronneblad had a 69. Mathias Eggenberger had a 66 for Switzerland, and Benjamin Rusch shot 68.
"It was a solid round from tee to green," Kinhult said. "I was never in trouble and that was the key. It's always nice to be in the mix. You want to make sure you stay in your position until the last day."
Argentina and Denmark were a stroke back in the biennial competition, with Denmark the only one of the top seven teams to open on the par-71 Oshitate Course.
The United States and England were 8 under. Beau Hossler and Denny McCarthy shot 68 for the U.S., and Bryson DeChambeau had a 69.
"It's an excellent start," U.S. captain Jim Hyler said. "We left some shots out there and we didn't play particularly well on the par 5s. But overall, it was a really good start.
"We tell them to go play their game and have fun, just don't do anything too crazy. These guys are all experienced tournament players, they know what to do."