Palmer shoots 62, joins lead at Byron Nelson

Golf

McKINNEY, Texas — Jordan Spieth thought the course for his hometown Byron Nelson would play harder after yielding extra birdies in its debut than some other match on the PGA Tour final season.

The three-time main winner says he could not have been extra flawed, and is frankly shocked over how little he thinks was performed the primary two days to make TPC Craig Ranch a stiffer take a look at.

Ryan Palmer, one of many Dallas-area gamers within the shadow of Spieth, and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler shot a 10-under 62 on Friday and was tied at 15 beneath with Sebastián Muñoz and 40-year-old tour rookie David Skinns.

Muñoz, a Colombian who lives within the Dallas space and went to school at North Texas, was even by means of 13 holes coming off his second 60 of the season — a primary on the PGA Tour — earlier than birdies on three of 4 holes for a 69. Skinns shot 63.

Justin Lower, one other older tour rookie at 33, was alone in fourth, a shot behind the leaders after a 66.

“I imply, a 60 yesterday and plenty of 8s [under] and 7s all around the board,” mentioned Spieth, who shot 65 and was three photographs off the lead in a bunch that features defending champion K.H. Lee.

“It is simply, plenty of tees are up, it was very shocking,” Spieth mentioned. “I feel they had been wanting on the weekend as loads much less wind and they also used extra of the simpler pins the primary two days as a result of I can solely title one or two pins on this golf course that weren’t the simplest two places which are on the greens. I am a bit of shocked at how, on a not-so-difficult golf course, they’ve additionally set it up a bit of simpler for us, too.”

The Nelson was the one 2020-21 match with greater than 2,000 birdies (2,007). There have been 38 eagles within the first spherical Thursday, essentially the most for a single spherical this season.

Charl Schwartzel had one of many Friday eagles in a spherical of 65 that put him at 13 beneath. The 2011 Masters winner drove right into a greenside bunker on the 316-yard, par-4 14th and holed out from there.

The highest-ranked Scheffler, who got here in with 4 wins in six particular person occasions capped by the Masters victory, shot a 68 and was 9 beneath after two rounds alongside his fellow former Texas Longhorns in Spieth and Lee.

Palmer, who completed his opening spherical with an eagle on the par-5 18th, began on the again 9 and birdied six of the final seven holes on that facet, then added 4 extra on the entrance in a bogey-free spherical.

The 45-year-old hasn’t gained a person occasion since 2010 in Hawaii. Palmer lives in close by Colleyville and is a member at Colonial Nation Membership in Fort Price, the place the tour returns in two weeks after the PGA Championship at Southern Hills.

Palmer had a two-shot lead midway by means of his final Texas cease in San Antonio in early April earlier than taking pictures 7 over on the weekend. He’s a four-time winner, together with the 2019 Zurich workforce occasion in New Orleans with Jon Rahm.

“I spent 19 years doing this, unbelievable that I have been right here that lengthy, and these younger guys … you bought to play such nice golf to beat ’em,” Palmer mentioned. “We’re in place once more and we’ll be taught from what we discovered in San Antonio and attempt to do it right here.”

Lee gained the rain-plagued Craig Ranch debut at 25 beneath whereas Spieth tied for ninth, his private finest in a match he badly desires to win due to his exceptional professional debut on the Nelson as a 16-year-old Sunday contender in 2010.

There is no trace of rain this time in McKinney, about 30 miles north of downtown Dallas, and the wind was brisk the primary two days. Mix that with the expectation of the tough being extra of an element a yr after a February deep freeze wiped it out, and Spieth figured scores can be greater.

As a substitute, he discovered himself calling out the moved-up tee field on the par-5 ninth, which performed simply 474 yards and a median practically three-quarters of a stroke beneath par Friday. It was the simplest gap on the course.

The Tom Weiskopf-designed course additionally has extensive fairways and huge greens.

“Some familiarity to me with among the programs I performed again in South Africa,” mentioned Schwartzel, who tied for third at 21 beneath final yr. “I do not really feel claustrophobic off the tee. It offers me a little bit of house, and as soon as I can get it in play, iron play shouldn’t be a lot of an issue. So simply actually snug.”

Skinns, an Englishman with no top-25 finishes in 20 PGA Tour appearances unfold out over practically a decade, had 5 consecutive birdies beginning on the par-3 seventh in his career-best spherical.

Decrease hasn’t completed greater than tied for fifteenth in a person occasion. He paired with Dylan Wu to tie for Tenth within the workforce occasion in New Orleans.

The ninth-ranked Spieth and No. 17 Joaquin Niemann, additionally at 12 beneath, lead the record of 10 among the many world’s prime 30 within the subject.

No. 13 Hideki Matsuyama was 11 beneath, a shot higher than eighth-ranked Justin Thomas, who spent the primary two days within the group forward of Spieth, his good pal and home visitor for this week.

No. 11 Dustin Johnson was 7 beneath, and Twelfth-ranked Xander Schauffele rallied from 3 over for the match early within the second spherical with eight birdies over 10 holes to make the minimize on the quantity at 5 beneath.

The remainder of the highest 30 gamers missed the minimize: Tenth-ranked Sam Burns, the runner-up to Lee on the Nelson final yr; Will Zalatoris (twenty eighth), one other participant in his hometown occasion; and Kevin Kisner (thirtieth).

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