May 29 2011
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."