IRVING -- Their Colleyville homes are in such close proximity that Ryan Palmer estimates he could place a golf ball in his back yard and land it on Chad Campbell's property with a well-struck 5-wood.
The amount of separation between the two on the leader board at the HP Byron Nelson Championship is even less. Both are at 6-under par through 36 holes, one stroke off Jason Dufner's lead heading into the weekend rounds.
But the Colleyville neighbors are using remarkably different blueprints to make it happen.
Campbell chuckled Friday when asked how he would feel if caddie Judd Burkett handled all of his club selections at the Four Seasons Resort, a strategy Palmer and caddie James Edmondson have adopted -- with runaway success -- for six consecutive rounds, dating to last year.
"That would be weird," Campbell said. "But I'd be in good hands. We'd probably hit the same clubs we hit right now because we pretty much know what each other is thinking."
Campbell trusts Burkett the same way Palmer trusts Edmondson. All four are close friends, having forged relationships that began when they were competitors at Texas high schools.
Burkett and Palmer were teammates at Amarillo High School, with Campbell playing for Andrews and Edmondson competing for Fort Worth Paschal. Palmer, who was Burkett's next-door neighbor in Amarillo, said the foursome remain among one another's "closest friends" on tour.
But every relationship has its limits. Campbell made that clear when asked what would happen if Burkett handed him an unexpected club at a tee box, with plans that he use it. Edmondson has done that more than once with Palmer during a Nelson stretch that saw them finish second at last year's event and has them positioned to contend again this year.
"It would probably go back in the bag, if we didn't talk about it," Campbell said. "My story is not quite as good (as Palmer's). I just try to hit what we think is the best option. Honestly, I'd be very surprised if Judd pulled one I wouldn't want to hit. That's just the way we work."
Palmer and Edmondson work differently, at least during Nelson week. Because of Palmer's long history of struggles at the TPC Las Colinas -- six missed cuts and a tie for 73rd in his first seven career appearances -- the duo opted to have Edmondson pull clubs at the 2011 Nelson to change their luck.
Palmer finished second, losing to Keegan Bradley in a sudden-death playoff. So the game plan remained in place this year and Palmer, the first-round leader, is back in the mix of weekend contenders.
The strategy has earned Palmer plenty of ribbing from peers, although Burkett has yet to weigh in with an opinion.
"There will be jokes later, I bet," said Palmer, who took some heat from playing partner D.A. Points' caddie while completing Friday's second-round 70.
After Palmer hit a 6-iron off the tee at No. 11, a short par-4, Palmer said Points' caddie asked, "What, James didn't like driver?' And I was like, 'I wasn't going to hit it if he gave it to me.'"
Actually, Palmer has been remarkably trusting in this experiment. At one point last year, he belted a 5-wood off the tee into the teeth of a 35 mph headwind at No. 18 when Edmondson surprised him and kept the driver in the bag. After posting a routine par, Palmer called it a good strategic move. Similar examples have surfaced at the 2012 Nelson.
Now, the Colleyville neighbors will join Dufner in today's featured threesome. They will tee off at 11:45 a.m., with plans to support one another -- but only so much.
"We are both wishing each other to play good. But, obviously, we want to beat each other, too," Palmer said. "It's nice because we can keep each other loose just talking about things other than golf. And with all the family and friends we have in town, we could be the popular group."
Palmer paused, then smiled.
"Oh, no. Phil's here, darn it," Palmer said.
Indeed, Phil Mickelson stands at 1-under -- six strokes behind Dufner, five behind the Colleyville contingent. Campbell, who posted a second-round 66, his lowest Nelson effort since 2007, cited a strong day of ball-striking (11 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens in regulation) with helping him climb into contention.
"It's about keeping the ball in the fairway," Campbell said. "There are a lot of hard golf holes out there and you can get out of position and get bad angles to the green. If you keep the ball in the fairway, you can shoot some scores around here."
Palmer would tell him you can do the same thing by letting your caddie pull the clubs. Just don't expect Campbell to take that advice to heart.
Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760