Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ryan Palmer shoots 62 for PGA Colonial lead

FORT WORTH, Texas — Ryan Palmer was standing in the fairway on his last hole Thursday when his longtime caddie and fellow Colonial member issued a challenge.

James Edmondson, who won his third Colonial club championship last year, told Palmer that birdie would match the caddie's low round at Hogan's Alley.

"What do you do when you get that thrown at you?" Palmer said.

Palmer hit an approach to 5 feet at the 388-yard ninth hole for 8-under 62 in the Crowne Plaza Invitational to match the lowest PGA Tour first round at Colonial. John Rollins is one back.

For all the rounds Palmer has played at Colonial, where he has been a full dues-paying member since 2010, he had never had such a low score. He generally plays there two or three times a week during the offseason and once or twice during weeks he's not playing on tour.

"These old men here make me grind because I have to give them so many shots. Maybe that helps," Palmer said, smiling. "Usually in a practice round, I don't think I've shot below 65. You just don't grind a lot. In this situation, you grind a little harder. When I'm out here with the guys, I mean half the time I might grab a few (beers) for the back nine."

Graham DeLaet, wearing pants with a plaid design similar to the jacket Colonial winners get, matched Morgan Hoffmann, David Hearn and John Peterson at 64. Matt Kuchar, No. 13 in the world ranking and the highest-ranked player in the 136-man invitational field, was in a group of six at 65.

Rollins, who like Palmer lives in nearby Colleyville, has playing privileges at Colonial like other PGA Tour players though he doesn't play the 7,204-yard layout nearly as much as Palmer.

"He's a pretty permanent fixture in the men's group and everything that goes on out here," Rollins said.

Champions: Jay Haas and Duffy Waldorf shared the first-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship, shooting 5-under 66 in breezy, cool conditions at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. Haas' uncle Bob Goalby, the 1968 Masters winner who still lives in nearby Belleville, Ill., followed him on the back nine. "I think he was happy for me," Haas said. "The last time he walked nine holes, I don't know when that was."

Another apology over tiger: The head of the European golf tour apologized for using the term "colored" during a live television interview in which he was reacting to the spat between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia.

European Tour CEO George O'Grady said that "most of Sergio's friends are colored athletes in the United States."

"I deeply regret using an inappropriate word … for which I unreservedly apologize," O'Grady, who is British, said in a statement.

Woods and Garcia have exchanged barbs over the past two weeks, but things got uglier Tuesday when Garcia and his Ryder Cup teammates were at a dinner. The emcee jokingly asked Garcia if he would have Woods over for dinner during the U.S. Open. "We'll have him round every night," Garcia replied. "We will serve fried chicken."

The remark was reminiscent of Fuzzy Zoeller's similar comment about Woods during his record-setting victory in the 1997 Masters, when Woods became the first player of black heritage to win a major.

Garcia later apologized for the comment, saying he meant to give a funny answer to a playful question and it turned out to be "totally stupid and out of place."

Zoeller said Thursday he's "paid his dues" for his remark and believes Garcia's comment will eventually blow over.