LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Four years ago Ryan Palmer putted out for a closing 69 at the Deutsche Bank Championship, packed his bags and headed to Fenway Park to catch a Red Sox game and await word on his Ryder Cup chances.
Palmer, who had given captain Corey Pavin something to think about thanks to three top-11 finishes in his last four events leading up to the Ryder Cup selections, finally got the call but it wasn’t the one he had been hoping for.
“It’s always motivation to make that team, especially when you get the phone call at 11 at night saying, ‘Sorry,’” said Palmer, who was not named one of Pavin’s captain’s picks in ’10.
Palmer is in a similar position this year. Although he is 30th on the U.S. points list, he followed his opening 65 with a 1-under 70 in soft and sloppy conditions on Friday at the PGA Championship to grab the early clubhouse lead at 7 under.
Palmer teed off in the day’s first group at 8:20 a.m. (ET) in a steady downpour at Valhalla Golf Club and endured a 45-minute weather delay.
Palmer credited his short game for his 1-under round. He took 28 putts on Day 2 and scrambled well after hitting 10 of 18 greens in regulation.
“It was tough when we teed off,” said Palmer, whose best finish in a major is a 10th-place showing at the 2011 Masters. “I was able to hit great shots coming in and birdied the last two holes. Great feeling.”
It’s also a familiar feeling to the one he had in 2010 when he made his Ryder Cup run. “You come in knowing this week if you win you’re in,” he said. “Maybe if I don’t win, I play well and then go play well in the (FedEx Cup) playoffs, maybe I’ll get a little look at.”