IRVING (Sports Network) – Ryan Palmer fired a six-under 64 on Thursday to take the lead after the first round of the Byron Nelson Championship.
Palmer finished second at this tournament last year after losing a playoff to Keegan Bradley, and wasted little time in getting back toward the top of the leaderboard.
He did not record a bogey during his round and holds a one-stroke lead over Marc Leishman and Alex Cejka. They share second place after carding five-under 65s at TPC Four Seasons Resort.
“I keep telling myself, ‘Redemption!’ I didn’t lose it last year by any means, but to get back in the same setting with the same people watching, here where I live, and just to have that feeling again,” Palmer, a Texas resident, said. “This time be the guy standing with the trophy.”
Matt Kuchar, last week’s winner at The Players Championship, shot a four-under 66 is tied for fourth. Also in that group are Scott Piercy, Charley Hoffman, Bill Lunde, Blake Adams, Dicky Pride and Andres Gonzales.
Bradley, whose win last year was his first on the PGA Tour, is among 13 players tied for 11th at minus-three.
Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els trail Palmer by six strokes after carding even- par 70s.
Palmer began from the 10th tee and sank his first birdie at the par-four 11th, where he blasted a 320-yard tee shot over the green to set up a short iron and a four-foot putt.
He then rolled in a 10-footer at the 15th and two-putted for birdie at the par-five 16th.
Palmer made the turn at minus-three, then drained a 25-foot birdie putt at the second before making a 16-footer at the very next hole. At the par-three fifth, he pinned his tee shot just over four feet from the flag and made the short putt to reach six-under.
“I knew everything was going in the right direction, it was a matter of putting it all together at once,” Palmer said. “I drove it great for 14 holes, hit irons, putted great, had a short game my last four holes.”
Leishman played in the first group off the first tee, and ended his front nine with two birdies and a bogey. But he set the early standard thanks to two eagles on the back nine.
At the 11th, he placed his tee shot 15 yards in front of the green and holed his chip shot. Then, at the 16th, the Australian left his second shot just eight feet from the pin and made the eagle putt.
“It’s nice having a real good chance for eagle, doesn’t happen a whole lot,” Leishman said. “Sometimes you have a tough putt or maybe a holable bunker shot, but both of the opportunities for eagle I had I was thinking about holing, and it’s nice when they go in.”
Cejka made just one birdie through his first 12 holes, but rose up the leaderboard because of a strong finish. He birdied the 13th, then sank three in a row from the 15th.
NOTES: Padraig Harrington and Vijay Singh both shot two-under 68, and are among numerous players tied for 24th…Mickelson made his first start at this event since 2007…Eighty-five players finished even-par or better.
(© Copyright 2012 The Sports Network. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Also Check Out: