As a member at Colonial Country Club, Ryan Palmer has played plenty of rounds across its tree-lined fairways and narrow targets – none better, though, than Thursday’s 8-under 62.
A resident of nearby Colleyville, Texas, Palmer carded eight birdies without dropping a shot during his opening round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational, and as a result held a two-shot lead after signing his scorecard. He admitted after the round that local knowledge helped on a day where he found 12 of 14 fairways.
“This golf course, I know where to hit it,” explained Palmer, who also reached 14 of 18 greens in regulation. “I felt comfortable over every tee shot. I hit driver almost everywhere I could and I drove it perfectly today.”
The 62 tied Palmer’s lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it also equaled the low mark for opening rounds at Colonial. Beginning the day on the 10th hole, the three-time PGA Tour winner got his round going with four straight birdies from holes 14-17 and then capped it in style, carding red figures on three of his final four holes Thursday.
Palmer isn’t the only member of his team with ties to Colonial. His caddie, James Edmonson, is also a club member, and saw Palmer equal his personal low round with Thursday’s 62.
“I guess it’s a benefit, being a member here,” added Palmer, who made five birdie putts of seven feet or less during his opening round. “I didn't pull out my yardage book all day except to write the scores down, because here I don't really need much but a yardage.”
This week’s event continues an emotional stretch for Palmer, who two weeks ago tied for fifth at The Players Championship after learning of the death of a close friend. After playing well at TPC Four Seasons last week, he now finds himself out in front at an event that holds a special place in his heart.
“This is the one tournament I gear up for the most. If I get in the four majors, this tournament will be the most meaningful to me to be on that wall on the first tee,' he said of the wall containing plaques of past Crowne Plaza champions. 'I dream about it all the time. I can't begin to tell you what it would mean [to win]. Hopefully I will be able to tell you on Sunday.'