May 23 2013
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH -- Ryan Palmer and John Rollins live about a mile apart from each other in nearby Colleyville, a suburb near DFW Airport. They are members at Colonial Country Club and have played several rounds together.
And now they're dominating the top of the leaderboard after Thursday's first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Palmer shot an 8-under 62 in the morning, and Rollins followed with a 63 in the afternoon, claiming the top two spots after 18 holes. Four players -- Morgan Hoffman; Canadians David Hearn and Graham DeLaet; and John Peterson, the latter having grown up on this course when his family had a membership -- were another shot back at 64.
No dues-paying member of Colonial has won the Crowne Plaza Invitational since the last of Ben Hogan's five wins in 1959. Palmer or Rollins could follow in Hogan's footsteps this week.
"I think it's pretty cool," Rollins said. "It would be fun if we could fast forward this to Sunday."
Palmer actually plays more golf at Colonial than does Rollins does.
"I think he is a pretty permanent fixture in the men's group," Rollins said. "... I know a lot of people know that Ryan is a member. A lot of people may not know that I'm a member here. Hopefully by the end of the week they will."
Neither has enjoyed much success in their previous starts here.
Palmer's best finish in nine starts was his tie for fifth a year ago -- he's only top-10 finish. Rollins has missed the cut in seven of his 10 starts, his best finish a tie for 24th in 2007.
But Palmer's 62 ties for the lowest opening-round score in tournament history. Rollins' 63 was his best round at Colonial by four strokes.
Palmer visualizes his name on the Wall of Champions on the first tee.
"This is what I dream about when I play here every year," Palmer said. "This is the one tournament I gear up for the most."
Rollins is now visualizing a duel with Palmer on the back nine Sunday.
"I hope I come out on top," Rollins said.
Of course, there's a long ways to go, and the leaderboard behind Palmer and Rollins is crowded.
Besides the four players at 64, six more players are at 65, including 19-year-old Dallas native Jordan Spieth. In all, 38 players are within five shots of Palmer's lead.
Hoffmann comes off a tie for fifth at last week's HP Byron Nelson Championship, the best finish of his rookie year. He shot a pair of 66s on the weekend and the momentum obviously carried over to Thursday's first round.
"Last week was a big confidence booster," Hoffmann said.
Defending champion Zach Johnson shot a 1-under 69, as did last week's winner, Sang-Moon Bae, who double bogeyed his final hole.
"It's a fairly solid day," Johnson said. "A day I didn't shoot myself out of it."