RENO, Nev. -- Ryan Palmer had just hit his drive on the 15th hole during the third round of the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open. The ball had gone 281 yards, and although Palmer blocked it to the right, he had a clean lie in the dirt, about six inches off the cart path. The problem was, Palmer was standing on the path, and he was unsure of his footing with his golf spikes.
Necessity being the mother of invention, Palmer turned to his caddie, James Edmondson, and told him to take off his shoes. Palmer, meanwhile, began untying his own shoes.
You can see where this is going.
Palmer figured his solution to the problem was OK under the Rules of Golf. He would put on Edmondson's shoes, hit his approach and then put his own back on. Before he hit his change-of-shoes shot, however, Palmer called on PGA TOUR Rules Official Steve Carman for an official ruling. "I knew [Edmondson] was part of my equipment, and I kind of got smart for a change and asked an official. So it worked perfect."
Once Carman gave him the go-ahead, Palmer hit his 8-iron approach shot to 21 feet, made a routine two-putt and then parred his last three holes for a 6-under 66 and a spot in second place alone, four strokes behind John Rollins.
"I got good footing and put the club on the ball and hit a great shot. It was one of those times where I thought about the rules, and I was able to use the rules to my advantage," he added.
Palmer goes into Sunday's final round paired with Rollins his Colleyville, Texas, neighbor. Such is their friendship that before the third round, Palmer and Rollins had breakfast together in the clubhouse.
"I think it will be nice playing with a friend. It's going to be a nice day to play with a guy you know real well," Palmer said. "It will be relaxing for both of us, and hopefully the two of us can go out and play well. Whoever plays better will be the last man standing."
Palmer was one of three players -- Billy Mayfair and Joe Ogilvie were the others -- to go bogey-free Saturday, with Palmer extending his blemish-free streak to 20 consecutive holes. While he made five third-round birdies on the front nine, he only managed one on the back nine at Montreux Golf and Country Club. "I got a little loose on the back nine and am a little frustrated the way the day ended. But I couldn't ask for a better spot to be in," said Palmer.
"It's kind of funny how we're going to be paired together in the final round," Rollins said. "I think it's fun to play with a guy that you're comfortable being around."
Both Palmer and Rollins are two-time PGA TOUR winners, with Palmer winning most recently at last fall's Ginn sur Mer Classic in Palm Coast, Fla. He also won the 2004 Funai Classic at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
Rollins' victories came at the 2002 Bell Canadian Open and the 2006 B.C. Open.
Both of them hope to pick up win No. 3 Sunday. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen. But with two friends going head to head, chances are they'll have fun in the process.