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 a 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 his approach to 5 feet at the 388-yard ninth hole for an 8-under 62 that matched the lowest PGA Tour first round at Colonial. That put him a stroke ahead of John Rollins, who had his best round this season.
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 the PGA 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. You are able to focus more. 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 players at 65.
Warren JFK graduate Jason Kokrak shot a first-round 66.