NORTON, Mass. — Ryan Palmer has felt all year that something special was going to happen. For now, he’ll take his lowest round of the season.
Palmer took only 21 putts and made birdie on half of his holes Friday on the TPC Boston, giving him an 8-under 63 and a two-shot lead over Keegan Bradley after the opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
“It was one of my best ones of the year, for sure,” Palmer said.
He didn’t miss a putt inside 15 feet and closed out his round with a pitching wedge to 18 feet, making the downhill putt for his ninth birdie.
Bradley matched his low round of the season, though what meant more was the timing. This is the final week before U.S. captain Tom Watson decides which three players he will pick to fill out his Ryder Cup team. Bradley always seemed like a logical choice, though he wants to leave nothing to chance.
He played bogey-free in a gentle breeze, and it was just the start he needed.
“I’m not going to sit up here and say any cliches that I’m not thinking about the Ryder Cup or any of that,” Bradley said. “I am very aware every second of the day that I’m being watched by the captain. And I’m just trying to embrace that be aware of it and enjoy it if I can.”
For two weeks — especially this one — the FedEx Cup shares the stage for that other cup. So many players are thinking less about the chase for a $10 million bonus, and more about a chance to play a tournament where they don’t get paid at all.
Palmer finished No. 18 in the Ryder Cup standings. His name hasn’t been mentioned as prominently as others bidding for captain’s pick. But he looked plenty good Friday.
“I keep telling myself something is going to happen. I don’t know where or when,” Palmer said. “My game has been in good shape. It was a matter of getting it all together.”
Photo via Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports Images