BETHESDA, Md. – Y.E. Yang has just bounced back from his only bogey of the day with a birdie at the 12th hole to return to 5 under for the tournament.
He now trails Rory McIlroy by six strokes with six holes remaining – and EPSN plans to stay with the broadcast until the Korean finishes his round. The telecast was originally scheduled to end at 7 p.m. but ESPN decided on the bonus coverage after Friday’s 42-minute weather delay.
Heath Slocum continues to play well -- he’s 2 under with five holes remaining. And Ryan Palmer has made three straight birdies to get back to 2 under. He’s playing the 18th, his ninth of the day.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. -- Ryan Palmer came to Congressional a week ago last Tuesday, hopped in a golf cart by himself and proceeded to hit six tee shots on every hole.
"I didn't hit any iron shots or chip and putt much because the greens weren't that fast," Palmer explained.
But Palmer learned the lines off the tee, and the practice paid dividends on Thursday during the first round of the U.S. Open. The Texan opened with a 69 that left him near the lead and later said he didn't think he could have shot any worse.
"That's how solid I played today," Palmer said.
The three-time TOUR champ knew it was going to be a good day when he birdied his first hole. Palmer added two more at Nos. 7 and 10 to surge into a tie for the lead before making his only bogey at the par-5 16th.
"It was nice to get under par, obviously, and shooting 60s the first day in the U.S. Open," Palmer said. "The biggest thing was hitting good tee shots that just went in the rough. I was able to still hit the greens, the way they've got the new rough. It gives the guys that hit good tee shots, they just run through the fairway a little bit and you can still play from there a little bit."
Palmer has missed the cut in the only other U.S. Opens he's played -- but he was in junior college the first time in 1998 and struggling through some swing issues in 2007. He says he's a more "veteranized" player now, though. and the holes at Congressional fit his eyes.
Palmer's 10th place finish at the Masters was a confidence-builder, too. He closed with a 70 that included an eagle, three birdies and one bogey over his last six holes. But a lesson he learned in the first round might have been key to that finish at Augusta National and his strong start at Congressional.
"You're going to make some bogeys, no doubt about it, it's eliminating the double bogeys and big numbers," Palmer said. "I think I'll have plenty of birdie chances. I made double on 11 at the Masters on Thursday, and I got down on myself. And (his caddy) picked me up and said you've got to calm down, this is Thursday, you've got to stay patient with yourself.
"And I birdied three or four of the next six holes. That's important going into weeks like this."
Since his last U.S. Open appearance, Palmer has won twice and lost in a playoff last month at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. He also finished second at the 2010 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and ranks 14th in the standings for the Presidents Cup.
"This is a big week with the few weeks I have coming up as well," Palmer said. "Not just pressure to play good, just keep showing myself I do belong on the biggest stage, prove I can play with the guys on the best courses and best tournaments.”
BETHESDA, Md. – That “Golf Boys” video notwithstanding, Bubba Watson is doing what he does best on Thursday at the U.S. Open. And that’s not dancing.
Watson started on the back nine and parred his first six holes before making bogey at No. 17. He made the turn in 36 and added two more pars before erupting with a string of three straight birdies to move to 2 under.
So Watson, who lost the PGA last year in a playoff, is now one stroke off the lead held jointly by Y.E. Yang and Ryan Palmer. Yang is playing his 18th hole, the par-5 ninth, while Palmer, who started on the front, has completed 13.
Watson has treated his fans to two wildly different looks this week. He wore overalls – and no shirt – in the music video that was released on Tuesday – performing to the song “Oh, Oh, Oh” with Ben Crane, Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler. Click here to watch.
During the U.S. Open, Watson is honoring the military with a green shirt and camouflage pants. He wore all white each day at the Masters.
BETHESDA, Md. – A man who has never played the weekend at a U.S. Open is setting the pace midway through the morning half of the draw.
Ryan Palmer, who missed the cut at the U.S. Open in 1998 and 2007, has yet to make a bogey in the first round. The Texan started on the front, as have the majority of the players at the top of the leaderboard, and has completed 11 holes in 3 under.
Giving chase are several major champions, including Graeme McDowell, who is defending the title he won a year ago at Pebble Beach. He’s tied at 1 under along with 2009 British Open champ Stewart Cink, 2009 PGA champ Y.E. Yang and Davis Love III, who won the 1997 PGA.
Also at 1 under are Chez Reavie, who is playing his 18th hole; J.J. Henry and Jason Day. The group at even par includes three-time major champion Padraig Harrington and Louis Oosthuizen, who will defend his British Open title next month at Royal St. George’s.
Phil Mickelson, who has finished second at the U.S. Open five times, is among the afternoon starters. The birthday boy – Mickelson turns 41 today -- tees off No. 10 in the day’s Featured Group with Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson.
BETHESDA, Md. -- Ryan Palmer just made a 4-footer at the difficult par-3 10th hole to take sole possession of the lead at 3 under.
The Texan is the only player in the current top-10 on the leaderboard who hasn't made a bogey on Thursday. He birdied the first hole and added another at No. 8.
Palmer has a one-stroke lead over Chez Reavie, who has two holes remaining; Johan Edfors, who is through 11, and Jeff Overton, who is playing with the leader.
Palmer has yet to make a cut in two previous starts at the U.S. Open in 1998 and 2007.
IRVING, Texas – Keegan Bradley, a PGA TOUR rookie who is the nephew of LPGA legend Pat Bradley, beat Ryan Palmer on the first playoff hole to win the 2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship under brutally tough scoring conditions Sunday.
Bradley won with a par at the 18th hole after Palmer found the water with his approach shot and settled for bogey. The win is Bradley’s first on the PGA TOUR.
“I can’t believe this has just happened,” said Bradley, who moved to 20th in the FedExCup standings with the win. “This is a dream come true.”
Bradley called his second shot in the playoff hole – in which the ball sailed to the right of a line of trees, then curled back to the left to end up on the collar of the green – the “shot of my life.”
Palmer, the native Texan who was seeking his fourth win on the PGA TOUR, had forced the playoff with a birdie at the 18th hole in regulation. It was just the second birdie all day at TPC Four Season Resort’s closing hole.
Despite his disappointment in not winning, Palmer said he was proud of the way he battled to force a playoff. He finished birdie-bogey-birdie in regulation, with his approach shot at the 72nd hole stopping six feet from the pin for birdie.
“I got into position to win the golf tournament,” he said. “That’s all I can ask for.”
Bradley shot a final-round 68, one of just nine sub-par rounds shot on Sunday. Palmer, who led by one stroke after 54 holes, shot a final-round 72.
Joe Ogilvie and Ryuji Imada tied for third, one shot back.
Bradley and Palmer were two of just five players who finished the tournament under par. That’s the fewest number of players under par in this event since TPC Four Seasons Resort began hosting the event in 1983 and the fewest since 1980 when the tournament was held at Preston Trail.
Local favorite Jordan Spieth, the 17-year-old amateur, began the day just four shots off the lead. But he struggled down the stretch and posted a 7-under 77 to finish tied for 32nd.
“I’m sure it will sink in, of course, in a positive way,” Spieth said. “But it stings right now, it really does.”
IRVING, Texas – Play by play coverage of the playoff between Ryan Palmer and Keegan Bradley for the 2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship:
FIRST PLAYOFF HOLE: 18th hole
Bradley tees off first, with his drive landing on the opposite of the cart path to the right of the fairway. The ball ends up under a tree. He’ll have 163 yards to the pin but doesn’t appear to have a clear shot.
Palmer follows, and his drive also sails right into the rough. He’ll have 148 yards to the pin and will have a slight advantage.
Marshals move a concession storage cart that is between Bradley’s ball and the green.
Bradley sends his second shot down the right of the trees and curls it back toward the green. The ball ends up just on the collar of the green, between the pin and the water.
Palmer is also under a tree that appeared to restrict his backswing. His approach shot finds the water and he’ll have to take a one-shot penalty. Bradley has the big advantage.
Palmer’s drop ends up on the slope down toward the water. He chips onto the green and will have a putt from 12 feet, 10 inches for bogey.
From 54 feet, 6 inches, Bradley uses his putter and hits a nice birdie putt to two feet.
Palmer makes his bogey putt but it doesn’t matter. Bradley drains his short par putt for the win.
IRVING, Texas – Thanks to a clutch birdie on the 18th hole, Ryan Palmer has forced a playoff with PGA TOUR rookie Keegan Bradley for the 2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship.
The sudden-death playoff will start on the 18th hole, then, if necessary, go to the 17th hole, then back to the 18th hole.
Palmer, the 54-hole leader, struck a superb approach shot to six feet at the 18th, then rolled in the birdie putt. It’s just the second birdie recorded all day at TPC Four Seasons Resort’s finishing hole.
Palmer shot a 2-over 72 in Sunday’s final round, while Bradley shot a 2-under 68. That was one of just nine sub-par rounds recorded on Sunday.
Palmer will be seeking his fourth TOUR win. Bradley is a rookie this year; he has two top-10 finishes.
Neither player has been involved in a playoff at a TOUR event.
This is the 10th playoff on TOUR this year.
PGATOUR.COM’s TOUR Report will carry shot-by-shot coverage of the playoff.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Thanks to a weather forecast of wind gusts to 35 mph, Ryan Palmer expects Sunday's final round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship to be a matter of survival.
Yet Palmer himself doesn't plan to sit on his one-shot lead. He promises to stay aggressive. That's the way he plays, and he's not about to change his approach now.
"There is something to playing aggressive and it can bite you at times," Palmer said. "But I'm not going to go out there tomorrow and try to survive.
"I'm going to try to win by 3 or 4. I'm not going to hold back at all."
Had Palmer not suffered three bogeys in his last five holes Saturday to shoot a 3-over 73, his lead would be more substantial. But he wasn't complaining about that. He was just glad that he played so well in the first two days, shooting 65-67 to share the 36-hole lead with Sergio Garcia.
Garcia shot 74 on Saturday and is Palmer’s closest pursuer. Arjun Atwal and Ryuji Imada are tied for third, two shots back.
"I think that was what was big about my first two rounds, and Sergio as well," Palmer said. "We kind of separated a little bit knowing the conditions ... The first two rounds were huge considering the wind today and tomorrow."
Palmer, the 34-year-old native of Amarillo, Texas, who now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, has held or shared the 54-hole lead two other times in his PGA TOUR career. He won one time (the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii) and came in second the other time (the 2010 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational).
That's one reason he likes his chances on Sunday ... even though until this week, he had never played well at the HP Byron Nelson, having missed the cut six times in seven previous starts.
"We didn't think we would be in this position coming into the week," Palmer said. "I think we've already won, so it's about having fun tomorrow."
IRVING, Texas – Wind gusts up to 35 mph created tough scoring conditions in Saturday’s third round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship It also produced a bunched-up leaderboard going into Sunday’s final 18 holes.
Ryan Palmer will take a one-shot lead going into Sunday’s final round, with Sergio Garcia his closest competitor.
Those two had a chance to separate themselves from the pack but they gave up strokes down the stretch -- as did almost everybody else in the field Saturday. As a result, that brought several players back into the chase.
Palmer was 8 under through 13 holes and had a two-shot lead over Garcia. But he suffered three bogeys in his final five holes to finish with a 3-over 73 that leaves him at 5 under for the tournament.
“My bad round’s out of the way,” Palmer said, “and I still lead by one.”
Garcia was still at 6 under through 15 holes, but he bogeyed two of his last three holes to fall to 4 under.
“I got nothing out of my round,” Garcia said. “I could not shoot one shot higher than I did today. So if you look at it that way, and I'm only one shot back behind Ryan, and I have tomorrow, I think it's pretty positive.”
Both players will be paired together for the second consecutive day in the final pairing at 1:15 p.m. ET.
Thanks to posting the lowest round of the day – a 3-under 67 – Arjun Atwal moved into a tie for third with Ryuji Imada, who shot an even-par 70. Both are at 3 under.
“It was truly a really tough day today,” Atwal said. “There’s not too many birdies out there. I mean, par’s really good on almost every hole, and I’m just lucky to shoot 67.”
Gary Woodland, Matt Kuchar and Joe Ogilvie are another shot back at 2 under.
Dallas 17-year-old amateur Jordan Spieth shot a 2-over 72 and is 1 under for the tournament.