IRVING _ Colleyville resident Ryan Palmer, who has struggled in past visits to the HP Byron Nelson Championship, leaned on caddie James Edmondson to make the executive decisions during today’s round.
The move helped Palmer post a 5-under-par 65 at the TPC Las Colinas, moving him within one stroke of the lead. Afterward, Palmer said much of the credit belonged to Edmondson, a former Paschal High School golfer and two-time Colonial club champion (2006, 2007) who “told me what to do” at each tee in terms of strategy.
“He told me what side of the tee box to get on and what target he wanted me to hit. It was my job to hit the shot,” said Palmer, who acknowledged having a mental block about playing the Nelson, a tournament where he has missed the cut in six of seven previous appearances. Once on the greens, Palmer said the putting was “all me.”
With Edmondson picking clubs at each tee, including a 5-wood that led to a birdie at No. 18, Palmer said Thursday’s 65 _ three strokes better than his previous low round at the course _ “ came easy.”
The former Texas A&M golfer said Edmondson will continue calling the shots at each tee throughout tournament week.
“James has the reigns the rest of the week,” Palmer said. “If this keeps me this loose and free and not thinking as much, I’ll put his name on the bag.”
In addition to leanding on Edmondson, Palmer also broke out a fresh set of irons for the first time during today's opening round, at the urging of swing instructor Randy Smith.
"Randy said, 'Great time to put some new ones in. You don't play well here, anyway,'" said Palmer, whose career scoring average at the Nelson course was 72.69 before today's opening round. "I've never felt comfortable or positive about playing in this golf tournament and it was a lot of fun out there (today). I think James enjoyed it as much as I did."
_ Jimmy Burch