IRVING, Texas (AP) - While Ryan Palmer is doing everything his caddie tellshim, Sergio Garcia is playing just fine without a practice round at the ByronNelson Championship.
Palmer and Garcia shared the second-round lead at 8-under 132 after asun-soaked round Friday when the wind was gusting up to 36 mph.
Garcia posted his second consecutive 4-under 66, after withdrawing from aBritish Open qualifier five holes in and passing up a practice round at TPC FourSeasons because of an infected fingernail on his left hand.Ryan Palmer tees off on the 18…
AP - May 27, 8:45 pm EDT
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After a bogey at the 523-yard par-4 third hole when his approach flew overthe green, Garcia birdied three of the next four holes and was bogey-free therest of his round. Despite the windy conditions, he hit 11 of 14 fairways and 14of 18 greens.
“You would be happy with those stats on a day with not much wind,” Garciasaid.
There also were some impressive shots along the way for Garcia. The31-year-old Spaniard blasted out of a greenside bunker to 7 feet to save par atNo. 14, then had a 45-foot chip-in birdie at the 15th hole when he couldn’t puttbecause of three sprinkler heads in the way. Walking into the stiff wind therest of the way, he had pars on the last three holes.
Palmer shot a 67. He had made the cut only once his seven previousappearances at the Nelson with nine consecutive rounds over par before this weekwhen caddie James Edmondson is calling his shots.
“He’s never played good here and we finally decided that I was going totake over and just lead the horse around the ranch,” Edmondson said.
With input from instructor Randy Smith, Edmondson is telling Palmer where tohit off the tee and what to do with his approach shots. The arrangement isworking so far. Palmer opened with a 65 Thursday before what was maybe a moreimpressive round with only one bogey in difficult conditions.
“I keep surprising myself how calm I am when it’s that way. … This is agolf course that I’ve struggled on so it’s nice to not to think about it, justget up and hit the shot, and if I don’t hit the shots it’s on me,” Palmer said.“So it’s nice to be free-swinging like that.”
Tim Petrovic (66) and Scott Piercy (69) were three strokes back at 5 under.Nick Watney (68), Joe Ogilvie (70) and Chad Collins (69) followed at 4 under.
For the second year in a row, area amateur teenager Jordan Spieth made thecut at the Nelson. After his 2-under 68 Friday, he was in a group of six playersat 3 under.
Spieth’s high school graduation ceremony is Saturday afternoon. The ceremonyfor Dallas’ Jesuit Prep’s graduating class of 246 seniors starts at 4 p.m.Saturday, at an auditorium on the SMU campus about 20 miles from TPC FourSeasons.
“Right after the round … I’m going to shoot over there as quickly aspossible,” Spieth said. “I don’t know how long (graduation) usually lasts.”
First-round leader Jeff Overton followed his opening 64 with a 74 thatincluding consecutive bogeys to end his round.
Seventy-four players made the cut at 3 over. Right on that mark wasdefending champion Jason Day (71).
Palmer had his only bogey at the 503-yard, par-4 15th hole when he missedthe green with his approach and then two-putted from 17 feet. With the windreally starting to pick up he parred out, using a 5-wood for the secondconsecutive day at No. 18, where he had a 25-foot birdie attempt just slide bythe cup.
“I thought I was going to hit driver today and (Edmondson) pulls that5-wood. `What am I going to do, hit 5-wood? Five-wood?”’ Palmer said. “And hegoes. `Let’s practice for the British Open. Hit the 5-wood hard, you can hit,’and I did that. Hit a perfect 5-iron to the middle of the green.”
Garcia, the 2004 Nelson champion, hasn’t won a tournament since 2008.
“When I’m feeling good, even in windy conditions like today, I feel like Ican control the ball flight and I can hit some good, solid shots,” Garcia said.“It’s going to be tough out there. I just need to make sure that I staypositive and just try to trust myself as much as I can.”