Sunday, January 21, 2018
Golf

Ryan Palmer leads at PGA's Deutsche Bank Championship

NORTON, Mass. — Ryan Palmer has felt all year that something special was going to happen. For now, he'll take his lowest round of the season.

Palmer took only 21 putts and made birdies on half of his holes Friday at TPC Boston, shooting 8-under 63 for a two-shot lead over Keegan Bradley after the opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.

"It was one of my best ones of the year, for sure," Palmer said.

He didn't miss a putt inside 15 feet and closed out his round with a pitching wedge to 18 feet, making the downhill putt for his ninth birdie.

Bradley matched his low round of the season, though what meant more was the timing. This is the final week before U.S. captain Tom Watson decides which three players he will pick to fill out his Ryder Cup team. Bradley is a logical choice, though he wants to leave nothing to chance.

He played bogey-free.

"I'm not going to sit up here and say any cliches that I'm not thinking about the Ryder Cup or any of that," Bradley said. "I am very aware every second of the day that I'm being watched by the captain. And I'm just trying to embrace that, be aware of it and enjoy it if I can."

Webb Simpson, who also needs a pick to return to the Ryder Cup, and Jason Day were among those at 66.

Jordan Spieth recovered from a double bogey to start his round and, with his entire family in tow, turned it around with four birdies and an eagle for 67. Also at 67 was Ian Poulter, who seems certain to be a Ryder Cup pick for Europe on Tuesday considering how much damage he's done to the Americans in the competition. Poulter was thinking only about his golf, which hasn't been very good this year.

"I just want to play golf," Poulter said. "It's been a (bad) year, and I want to turn it around."

Rory McIlroy was brilliant at times and sloppy at other times in his round of 70.

Phil Mickelson had 74, his card featuring six pars, six birdies, four bogeys, a double bogey and a triple bogey.

"I said it would be feast or famine," Mickelson said. "I was hoping it would be Stableford (scoring, points based on the number of strokes taken at each hole, with high score winning.). If it was Stableford, I'd be right in it."

lpga: I.K. Kim increased her lead to three strokes in the Portland Classic, shooting 5-under 67 to reach 12 under. She had seven birdies and two bogeys in her morning round in cloudy, calm conditions at Columbia Edgewater. She won the last of her three LPGA Tour titles in 2010, and this summer won a Ladies European Tour event in England. "I'm really pleased how I played the last two days," Kim said. Carlota Ciganda and Mi Jung Hur shot 65 to join Laura Diaz at 9 under.

champions: Tom Pernice Jr. and Bart Bryant matched the Canyon Meadows record at 8-under 62 to share the first-round lead in the Shaw Charity Classic at Calgary, Alberta. Pernice birdied his first five holes and had 10 birdies and two bogeys. Bryant birdied five of his last eight holes. David Frost was a stroke back.

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