Palmer answers caddie's challenge at Colonial

By Associated PressMay 24, 2013, 12:11 am

FORT WORTH, Texas – Ryan Palmer was standing in the fairway on his last hole Thursday when his longtime caddie and fellow Colonial member issued a challenge.

James Edmondson, who won his third Colonial club championship last year, told Palmer that a birdie would match the caddie's low round at Hogan's Alley.

''What do you do when you get that thrown at you,'' Palmer said.

Palmer hit his approach to 5 feet at the 388-yard ninth hole for an 8-under 62 that matched the lowest PGA Tour first round at Colonial. That put him a stroke ahead of John Rollins, who had his best round this season.

For all the rounds Palmer has played at Colonial, where he has been a full dues-paying member since 2010, he had never had such a low score. He generally plays there two or three times a week during the offseason and once or twice during weeks he's not playing the PGA Tour.

''These old men here make me grind because I have to give them so many shots. Maybe that helps,'' Palmer said, smiling. ''Usually in a practice round, I don't think I've shot below 65. You just don't grind a lot. In this situation, you grind a little harder. You are able to focus more. When I'm out here with the guys, I mean half the time I might grab a few (beers) for the back nine.''


Crowne Plaza Invitational: Articles, videos and photos

Video: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial highlights


Graham DeLaet, wearing pants with a plaid design similar to the jacket Colonial winners get, matched Morgan Hoffmann, David Hearn and John Peterson at 64. Matt Kuchar, No. 13 in the world ranking and the highest-ranked player in the 136-man invitational field, was in a group of six players at 65.

Rollins, who like Palmer lives in nearby Colleyville, has playing privileges at Colonial like other PGA Tour players though he doesn't play the 7,204-yard layout nearly as much as Palmer.

''He's a pretty permanent fixture in the men's group and everything that goes on out here,'' Rollins said.

Palmer, the former Texas A&M player who has three PGA Tour victories, had a bogey-free round, hitting 12 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens in regulation, with his first birdie putt being his longest. He was still even par until his 17-footer on his fifth hole, the 442-yard 14th, that started his stretch of four consecutive birdies. The only other birdie over 10 feet was a 14-footer at the 391-yard sixth hole.

''It's pretty neat. A lot of fun,'' Palmer said. ''Being a member here, we played it so many times, James and I. I felt comfortable over every tee shot. I hit driver almost everywhere that I could. I drove it perfectly today I felt. I hit it close a lot and made a lot of putts from about 5 or 6 feet. ... (Playing partner) Brian Stuard's caddie even made a comment on how comfortable I was because I've done it so many times.''

In his nine previous PGA Tour appearances at Colonial, Palmer's only top 10 was a tie for fifth last year. He missed the cut in 2010, the same year he became a full member.

Now he finally leads at Colonial after matching his best-ever round on the PGA Tour.

''This is what I dream about when I play here every year,'' Palmer said. '' This is the one tournament I gear up for the most.''

David Toms had an opening 62 when winning at Colonial two years ago. He was tied for the first-round lead that year with Chez Reavie. The only other opening 62 was Patrick Sheehan's in 2005. The course record of 61 is shared by six players, the last Chad Campbell in 2004.

Rollins' only bogey came after his drive at the 431-yard 12th landed in a fairway bunker. But he quickly got that shot back at the 193-yard 13th hole when he hit his tee shot within 7 feet of the cup.

Kuchar's only bogey came at the 241-yard, par-3 fourth, the middle hole of Colonial's famed ''horrible horseshoe'' because of the layout of a three-hole stretch where that par 3 is sandwiched by the two longest par 4s on the course. But he came right back with a 10-foot birdie at the 472-yard fifth to get to 5 under.

Colonial is one of Kuchar's favorite courses. Plus, the PGA Tour's two-week visit to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the Byron Nelson Championship and the Colonial provides extra time for him to work with his Dallas-based swing coach.

''I feel like I start coming along maybe the end of this week,'' Kuchar said. ''Things get really clicking.''

Defending Colonial champion Zach Johnson shot 69, the 16th time in his last 17 rounds under par at Colonial. The lone exception in that five-year span, when he also won in 2010, was last year's closing 72 that included a two-stroke penalty on the final hole. He had four bogeys and three birdies.

''I think overall more positives than negatives. I'm not going to dwell on too much here,'' Johnson said. ''It's a fairly solid day, a day I didn't shoot myself out of it. I would have liked to have a couple of more birdies.''


Getty Images

Woods talks about Ryder Cup prospects in third person

By Ryan LavnerAugust 21, 2018, 1:47 pm

Conversations between Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods have gotten a little awkward.

That’s what happens when Woods, the U.S. Ryder Cup vice captain, needs to assess the prospects of Woods, the player.

“We’re talking about myself in the third person a lot,” he said with a chuckle Tuesday at the Northern Trust Open. “That’s one of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

“I’m one of the guys on the short list, and sometimes I have to pull myself out of there and talk about myself in the third person, which is a little odd.”


The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos


After placing second at the PGA Championship, Woods finished 11th on the U.S. points list with just eight months of tournament results. Three of Furyk’s four captain’s picks will be announced after the BMW Championship in three weeks, and barring a late injury, it’s almost a certainty that Woods will be one of those selected.

Still, Woods was named in February as an assistant for his third consecutive team competition, even though he told Furyk at the beginning of the year that he envisioned himself as a player on the 2018 squad.

“I’m very close to making that happen,” he said. “It’s been a long year, and that’s been one of my goals, to make the team. To be a part of that team you have to be one of the 12 best players, and I’m trending toward that.”

Getty Images

Woods on busy schedule: 'It's about pacing myself'

By Ryan LavnerAugust 21, 2018, 1:34 pm

At the beginning of the year, Tiger Woods was anxious to see how his fused back would hold up to tournament play.

Now he’s in the midst of one of his busiest stretches in years.

With the Tour Championship and Ryder Cup likely to be added to his schedule over the next few weeks, Woods could play seven events in a nine-week span.


The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos


“That is a lot of golf,” he said Tuesday at The Northern Trust. “It’s about pacing myself and making sure I don’t practice too much, don’t overdo it and make sure my training schedule goes well.

“One of the hardest things this year has been finding the right balance. As the summer has gone on, I’ve gotten better and felt better. This is a pretty important stretch.”

Woods has already played 14 events – his most since 2013, when he had 16 starts.

He’s committed to playing the first three playoff events, beginning with this week’s event in New Jersey. There’s a week off after the BMW Championship, and at No. 20 in the FedExCup standings, Woods doesn’t need to do much to punch his ticket to East Lake. He’s also virtually assured of being a U.S. captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup, held in France the week after the Tour Championship.

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: The Northern Trust

By Tiger TrackerAugust 21, 2018, 1:00 pm

Tiger Woods begins his FedExCup Playoffs run at this week's Northern Trust. We're tracking him at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J.


Getty Images

Stock Watch: Will Bjorn buy or sell slumping Sergio?

By Ryan LavnerAugust 21, 2018, 12:07 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Sneds (+9%): It doesn’t always happen, a Tour player shooting 59 and then finishing it off with a W, so it was satisfying to watch Brandt Snedeker go wire to wire at the Wyndham. An in-form Sneds now should edge out Kevin Kisner for one of Jim Furyk’s final captain picks.

Viktor Hovland (+6%): Watching the Oklahoma State junior maul the field at the U.S. Amateur, a question arose: How does the fifth-ranked player in the world not win more often? The U.S. Am was just his second title, anywhere, outside of Norway. That could all change, after he proved to himself that he could handle the best field and the stiffest challenge.

Lexi (+4%): She once again was penalized – for playing preferred lies in a different fairway – but Thompson still shot 17 under and tied for 12th in her first start since a self-imposed break to recharge her batteries. In the media tent she was refreshingly honest about the difficulties of being a 23-year-old superstar who never went to college and whose life is consumed by golf. Here’s hoping she can find a better balance (like, say, Michelle Wie) over the next few years.

Tyler McCumber (+3%): The world rankings don’t reflect it, but McCumber is playing the best golf of anyone in the world right now. In his past four starts on the Canadian circuit, he’s gone win-win-3rd-win and shot 90 under par with a scoring average of 65.88 and just two rounds higher than 68.

Nick Taylor (+1%): Playing for his Tour card, Taylor shot a bogey-free 63 Sunday at the Wyndham – with an eagle and birdie in his last four holes – to jump from 129th to 119th in the standings. That’s clutch.


FALLING

Billy Hurley III (-1%): A winner two years ago at Tiger’s event, Hurley is now headed back to second stage of Web.com Q-School after finishing 201st in the standings – by a point. A tough break for one of the game’s good dudes.

Kevin Stadler (-2%): He reminded us of the dangers of slamming clubs, after the head of his 7-iron flew off and struck a spectator in the head, requiring stitches. It was a scary scene – “It’s been a while since I’ve seen so much blood,” said playing partner Shaun Micheel – that could have been even worse.

Sepp Straka (-3%): There were plenty of stories of heartbreak at the Web.com Tour regular-season finale, perhaps none as crushing as Straka, who went 5 over for his last seven holes (including three consecutive bogeys to finish) to drop outside of the top-25 bubble.

Sergio (-4%): At last, some signs of life – his tie for 24th in Greensboro was his best finish on Tour since March – but he still didn’t make the playoffs, and it still might not be enough to sway Thomas Bjorn. For the captain it may come down to a question like this: Who would you rather have in Paris, Sergio or Russell Knox?