Contender Ryan Palmer couldn’t close out at Colonial

Jordan Spieth and Harris English spent the afternoon battling back and forth for the lead at Colonial Country Club. Meanwhile, Spieth’s playing partner, Colleyville resident Ryan Palmer, was busy trying to get his game in gear to make a challenge.

After Spieth birdied the final three holes, including an electric chip-in on No. 17, Palmer sat back for the ride as more of a fan than competitor Sunday at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

“I just didn’t make enough putts today,” he said. “But I’ve seen this on TV before and on replays, but never been on the same green, so it was pretty spectacular to watch what Jordan did there.

“I expected it on 17 there. You can almost laugh at it. I mean as soon as it hit the green I told myself with the way the ball reacted that it was in the hole. That’s the way it goes sometimes, and it’s fun to watch when someone’s doing it.”

Palmer grabbed birdie at the opening hole to immediately jump into a tie with Spieth and English.

Another birdie at No. 2 put him a shot clear of the field, where he stayed through six holes before a birdie-bogey exchange on No. 7 and No. 8 with English dropped him a shot behind.

That’s about where the excitement ended for Palmer’s chances of donning a plaid jacket.

“The energy out there was spectacular and you couldn’t write a better script,” he said. “I’m proud of the way I hung in there as I could have let it slip and played a couple over, but I stayed strong all day, and it was nice to birdie the last hole and get in the top three.”

It’s Palmer’s third top-five at Colonial. The Amarillo native recorded fifth-place finishes in 2012 and 2014.

But this was the first time he had worked himself near the head of the pack with just 18 holes to go.

Despite not winning, Palmer climbed inside the top 50 of the FedEx Cup standings.

Barring a summer struggle with 14 events to go, Palmer should find himself in good position to challenge for a spot in the top 30 PGA Tour Championship, as well as build momentum for something that he truly covets, a spot on the Colonial Wall of Champions.

“I never gave up, but Jordan just kept pouring them in and that’s something he’s been doing for a while, that’s why he’s where he’s at,” he said. “But what a winner to have on that wall, and as a member of Colonial, I’m proud of this place and I’m proud of him.

“I think one day I’ll have another chance.”

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