Playing on his home course, Ryan Palmer pieced together a 4-under-par 33-33=66 during the opening round of the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, currently two strokes off the lead as the p.m. wave kick off their rounds.
The Colonial Country Club member looked comfortable from the start, rolling in an 18'1" birdie putt on the par-5 first hole to start the week. He followed it up with a circle at the next hole before finding a greenside bunker at the par-3 fourth hole, dropping his lone shot of the day. Palmer would splash home two more putts from long distance before exiting the course, both putts going for birdies and both from the 20-to-23 foot range. Palmer missed the cut here on his home course last year but he's off and running this time around.
Patrick Reed torched Colonial Country Club with a 5-under-par 32-33=65 during the first round of the DEAN & DELUCA Invivational, just one stroke off the current leader Bryce Molder.
The Texan opened on the back nine and showcased his putter early and often. The first highlight was a 13'7" birdie splash at the par-4 12th hole. It was his first of six eventual putts made from outside 11 feet. The longest was a 39'5" birdie bomb on the par-4 seventh hole. Reed entered the week with eight top 10s on the season, despite ranking just 110th in strokes gained putting. Traditionally, that's been an asset for him, so gamers have been waiting for a putting breakout round like this one. Gamers should watch closely as the week progresses because if his flat stick stays warms, it could be a very lucrative summer for Reed.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat found his groove again with a 4-under-par 33-35=68 on day one of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in England.
The Thai has had a mini dip in form since posting T16 at Augusta National but after missed cuts at The PLAYERS Championship and Byron Nelson, he's nicely placed here after circling five birdies against a single bogey at the West Course on Thursday. His dropped shot came at No. 3 but he was flawless after that and picked off birdies at 5, 7, 8, 10 and 15. In an impressive display of ball-striking, Aphibarnrat piped 11 (of 14) fairways and hit 15 greens in regulation. He's T8 on the leaderboard and just three behind Scott Hend, YE Yang and Joost Luiten.
Jason Dufner dialed in his putter during the first round of the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, carding a 4-under-par 34-32=66 to sit just two strokes off the early pace set by Bryce Molder.
Dufner entered the event ranked just 168th in strokes gained putting, but managed to gain 66 percent of his strokes with the flat stick today (2.585 of 3.870 total). The Auburn product was uncharacteristically sloppy off the tee, missing nine (of 14) fairways and landing in bunkers off the tee on four occasions. Luckily his putter came to play, rolling in a pair of birdie bombs from just outside 23 feet. If Dufner can maintain this pace on the greens, his reliable ball-striking will surely come around as the week progresses.
Richard Green painted a 5-under-par 32-35=67 on day one of the BMW PGA Championship and shares fourth place on the Wentworth leaderboard.
His wild ride around the West Course featured an eagle-3 at No. 4, seven birdies, four bogeys and just six pars. Green raced to 4-under with a birdie-eagle-birdie burst at Nos. 3-5 but then played his next 10 holes in 2-over to drop back. The left-hander wasn't done with yet though and birdied his final three holes to slot in just two shots behind leaders Scott Hend, YE Yang and Joost Luiten. In his joint-second lowest round at the Wentworth, Green found 7 (of 14) fairways, hit 12 greens in regulation but was only 2-for-6 in scrambling. He placed T48 in Ireland last week after missing his five previous cuts so this is another positive step for the Aussie.
Harris English styled a 3-under-par 34-33=67 during the opening round of the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational.
The Georgia Bulldog opened on the back nine and caught fire quickly with the flat stick. He splashed home a 9'1" par-saver at the par-4 10th and proceeded to roll in four putts from outside 10 feet before making the turn. Two of those came from outside 17 feet, the longest being a 29'3" par-saving bomb at the par-4 15th hole. English has a pair of top 30s in three starts at Colonial Country Club, and it's easy to see why after looking at the way he rolled his rock today.
With a bogey-free 6-under-par 32-34=66 on Thursday, Danny Willett put himself just a single shot off the pace after round one of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
In his first event on English soil since winning the Masters at Augusta National last month, Willett impressed his home fans with an afternoon lap featuring six birdies and 12 pars. The Yorkshireman circled red at three of the four par 3s (2, 10 and 14) but could only birdie one the four par 5s (17). His other gains came at 6 and 8. Today's round was just one more than the 65 he carded on his very first circuit of Wentworth. That helped him finish fifth on debut in 2010 although he hasn't had a top 30 in five appearances since. His 18 holes today, which were befitting of a major champion, left him just a shot behind leading trio Scott Hend, YE Yang and Joost Luiten. Willett only piped half of the 14 fairways but hit 17 greens in regulation.
David Toms constructed a 3-under-par 32-35=67 to open his week at the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational.
Toms surprisingly missed six (of 14) fairways but couldn't have been missing by much as he still landed 14 greens on the day. The LSU alum got started on the back nine and splashed in two straight birdie putts from outside 18 feet, the longest a 26'3" bomb at the par-5 11th. The Thursday Army was ready to put him on 59 watch at that point, but he quickly swallowed bogeys in two of his next five holes, forcing him to start over at even-par. Toms would circle three more birdies coming into the clubhouse, each of them coming from the 6-to-10 foot range. Colonial Country Club remains one of Toms favorite golf courses on TOUR, as it takes distance out of the equation and it's the site of his 2011 victory.