IRVING, Texas – Ryan Palmer shot a bogey-free 6-under 64 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Byron Nelson Championship, a year after losing a playoff to Keegan Bradley in the event.
Last year, Palmer birdied the 72nd hole to force a playoff against Bradley. Palmer then hit his approach into the greenside water to hand Bradley his first tour title.
“I didn’t lose it last year by any means,” Palmer said. “But to get back in the same setting with the same people watching, here where I live, and just to have that feeling again, this time be the guy standing with the trophy, that’s been my focus.”
Palmer’s bogey-free start came on a relatively calm day. With only a light breeze, 85 players were at par or better in the first round on the 7,166-yard course where Palmer and Bradley finished 72 holes last year at 3-under 277.
Coming off his victory at The Players Championship last weekend, Matt Kuchar overcome an opening bogey and was in a group of seven players at 66.
“Coming off momentum, a little tired,” said Kuchar, No. 5 in the world ranking. “It was a whole lot of extracurricular activities out of the norm for me, but I feel good about the round.”
Kuchar’s approach shot at No. 1 went over the green. He tried to putt it up the hill, but the ball ended up rolling back to his feet, prompting someone in the gallery to say, “I could have done that.”
When Kuchar tried again, he got the ball within 4 feet for his only bogey. He was under par to stay after birdies at Nos. 3 and 4.