Ryan Palmer would love to get his hands on the Wanamaker Trophy.
He knows another guy named Palmer never did.
Taking advantage of soft greens on the back side, the nondescript Colleyville resident shot a 6-under 65 on Thursday for a share of the lead at the PGA Championship with Lee Westwood and Kevin Chappell.
While one round does not make a champion, someone asked the 37-year-old Palmer what it would mean to win the only major championship that eluded Arnold Palmer.
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“Ask me that again on Sunday night if we are still here,” he replied. “I knew this is the one he didn’t win. I guess if this Palmer won it, that would be cool.”
This Palmer started at No. 10 and ripped off five birdies in his first nine holes. He found the greens to be especially receptive, allowing him to roll in a 12-footer at the 10th, an 18-footer at the 14th and a 20-footer at the 17th.
With a two-putt birdie at the par-5 18th, Palmer made the turn with a 31.
The front side proved more difficult, but he holed out from the rough at No. 5 for his sixth birdie of the round. Two holes later, he got up and down from a greenside bunker at another par-5 for the outright lead.
“I knew where I stood,” Palmer said. “I’ll admit, I watch leader boards. It was a good feeling. I wanted to get to 8 [under] so bad, and it kept driving me. We’ll take 6 [under] going into tomorrow.”
Furyk’s steady roll
A midseason break could wind up paying big dividends for Jim Furyk.
The 44-year-old carved out a monthlong sabbatical after his 12th-place tie in the U.S. Open. Second at last year’s PGA, he shot a 5-under 66 in the first round, climbing into a five-way tie for fourth — a stroke out of the lead.
“It’s nice to be in a major championship, and throwing up a good number early in the week,” said Furyk, who won the 2003 U.S. Open. “Got myself in a good position now.”
After his summer break, Furyk’s solid run began last month with a fourth-place finish in the British Open. He blew the final-round lead a week later in the Canadian Open and settled for second, then tied for 15th last week at Firestone.
Living the dream
Stuart Deane shot a 4-over 75 and sat in a tie for 126th place, but the Arlington club pro from Australia was still enjoying his trip.
Deane told The Courier Mail of Australia: “It is really great to be here. For the club pro, this is the epitome.”
His 11-year-old daughter, Lilly Deane, could not contain her excitement Wednesday. She was screaming from the side of the 13th hole during a practice round, and her father couldn’t help but smile.
“Dad! Dad!”, Lilly screamed, “I got Rory McIlroy’s autograph!”
Defending champion Jason Dufner withdrew because of a neck injury.
He was 8 over for the round when he stopped.