By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. -- Don't look now, but Bo Van Pelt has moved onto the leader board.
One of three Americans to finish in the top 10 at the Masters -- Tiger Woods and Ryan Palmer were the others -- Van Pelt is 3 under for the day and 2 under for the tournament through 10 holes. Van Pelt finished in a tie for eighth at the Masters. His best finish this year was a third at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
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.”