Ryan Palmer has felt all year that something special was going to happen. For now, he will take his lowest round of the season.
Palmer took only 21 putts and made birdie on half of his holes Friday on the TPC Boston, giving him an under-under 63 and a two-shot lead over Keegan Bradley after the opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
He did not 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 US captain Tom Watson decides which three players he will pick to fill out his Ryder Cup team. Bradley always seemed like a logical choice, though he wants to leave nothing to chance.
He played bogey-free in a gentle breeze, and it was just the start he needed.
“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 of Australia 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 a 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 has done to the Americans in the competition. Poulter was thinking only about his golf, which has not been very good this year.
Rory McIlroy was brilliant at times and sloppy at other times in his round of 70.
Phil Mickelson had a 74. He was not sure what to expect and even Lefty had to be surprised by his card that featured six pars, six birdies, four bogeys, a double bogey and a triple bogey.