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Ryan Palmer, Wesley Bryan share lead at Honda Classic

 
Published Feb. 25, 2017

PALM BEACH GARDENS — Ryan Palmer has reason to believe better days are ahead, with his golf game and at home.

Palmer made seven birdies Friday on another day of ideal scoring conditions for 5-under 65 and 9-under 131 total that gave him a share of the lead with PGA Tour rookie Wesley Bryan (67), the first-round leader, going into the weekend at the Honda Classic.

Rickie Fowler was a shot back after his second 66, and Anirban Lahiri was another stroke behind after 68.

Starting a new year packed with uncertainty over matters far more important than golf, Palmer returned from a four-month break and missed the cut in his first four events.

The long break was to be at home with his wife, Jennifer, who is recovering from breast cancer.

She was diagnosed with Stage 2 cancer in late July while he was at the Canadian Open. She had surgery about five weeks later. Palmer's season ended in September, and he spent the rest of the year helping her cope with chemotherapy and staying at home with their two children.

"I watched a few tournaments," Palmer said. "There were times when she said I should have gone and played. I was going to play Vegas and I was going to play Malaysia, but after that, there was no way I could play golf. Enjoyed time at home, took care of the kids. But it was a lot of hard times, for sure."

She was diagnosed relatively early, and the timing helped in other ways.

Palmer was able to reach out to Stewart Cink, whose wife is battling breast cancer. And the week after he learned his wife had breast cancer, Palmer sought out Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship. Mickelson's wife was diagnosed in 2009.

"And he went right to work and made phone calls for me," Palmer said. "I can't thank him enough for what he did. It's been a long ride."

Bryan had five birdies and salvaged bogey on 13 with an 8-foot putt.

LPGA: Unseasonal heavy rain in Chonburi forced LPGA Thailand organizers to suspend second-round play. Thirteen players didn't start, including co-leaders Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and Amy Yang of South Korea, who were at 6-under 66. The second round is scheduled to resume today.