Palmer faces 17th on first shot Sunday, makes birdie

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – It’s not the kind of shot you want to go to bed thinking about, but Ryan Palmer had no problems with his opener just past sunrise on Sunday at The Players.

Palmer had the honors of hitting his first tee shot of the day at the island-green 17th hole following Saturday’s weather delay and rifled a 50-degree wedge to 3 feet which he converted for birdie.

“I was going to take two pars and get out of here. It’s a little nerve-racking having a 122-yard shot (over water) to your first hole of the day,” said Palmer, who finished with a 70 and is tied for fourth place.

Palmer said he went through his normal warm-up Saturday morning, but then hit about a dozen shots to a flag on the TPC Sawgrass practice range that was 122 yards away.

It has been an emotional week for Palmer, whose childhood friend Clay Aderholt died in a car crash Thursday night in San Antonio, Texas. Palmer is wearing the initials “CA” on his hat to honor his friend, who he has known since middle school, and has been asked to be a pallbearer in a private service on Tuesday.