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HP Byron Nelson Championship, first round

Remember the good times

Carroll/Getty Images

Ryan Palmer leads the HP Byron Nelson Championship after the first round was completed. Ryan shot a wonderful round of -6 under par, for 66, and leads by just one shot from Marc Leishman and Alex Chejka, who both had good rounds of 65.Ryan Palmer was a  runner-up in 2011, when he lost in a play-off, said he was happy to be back;

“Continuation from last year, that’s what’s cool about the whole thing. It was great. Felt great all morning, warm-up was great. I knew everything was going in the right direction, it was a matter of putting it all together at once. I drove it great for 14 holes, hit irons, putted great, had a short game my last four holes. I was talking to James walking up to the scoring table, and I was excited about my score but I was disappointed in myself and how I locked up the last four holes. I had big pull hooks on my last four tee shots. I fought my way in, but I got up and down 60 yards for par on 7, in on 8 and great up and down on 9. I fought to get in and the short game was awesome, but I was disappointed in the way I kinda locked up on my tee shots, but that’s what the short game is there for, and fortunately it was good. It’s great to be in this spot again.”

Marc Leishman finished off his round with two eagles;

” I hit the ball well all day, hit a lot of fairway and was getting up and down for pars, which was good, and I think I birdied the par five, seventh, first birdie of the day, followed with another on eight, bogey nine, and a couple of eagles on the back nine was awesome. On eleven I was trying to drive it up towards that right bunker, pulled it a little bit, perfect, right in front of the green there about ten feet off the edge, easy chip, down grain. Like I said, it was an easy chip and held that. Another one on sixteen, I think about 245, hit a two iron to about eight feet, easy put, straight up, rolled that in and it was a good day. I drove it well and held the par putts that kept the round going, and I managed, obviously two eagles helped as well.”

Two of the bigger names in the field, Phil Mickleson and Ernie Els could only muster par rounds, and will be hoping to do better tomorrow on this par 70 lay-out. As they say in golf, you can not win a tournament on the first day, but you sure can lose it.

Phil was unhappy with his performance;

” I’m frustrated that I’m letting shots slide here or there and not capitalizing on some birdie opportunities. The course is in great shape. We had a perfect day. There was no wind. You couldn’t ask for a better day. There are some low scores out there and plenty of birdies. I didn’t take advantage of it. I had countless opportunities to roll some in and didn’t take advantage of them.”

Ernie was just happy to be back at the Byron Nelson again, it has been a while since he competed here;

” It’s been awhile. God, I went through the workout area yesterday and I was looking at the old pictures. It’s amazing how quickly time goes. In ’95 I won here, and I played it a lot in the ’90s, and because of that tournament in England that had it the same damn date for so many years, and we redesigned the course, so I had a commitment to go there. But I always wanted to come back here, and now that they changed the date in England, and I’m grateful for that. I’m back here.”

Ernie also feels that he could win here, he has been close to wining this year. He blames a wayward putter for not doing so when he had the opportunity;

” You know, I probably could have won three times already this year, Europe and two of them here. But the flat stick didn’t help me out, I’m working on that. I feel like I’m hitting the ball nicely, I’m healthy again, I had the flu for 10 days, so I feel a lot stronger, so I’m looking forward to this week.”

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