Colleyville golfer leads Byron Nelson after 18 holes

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA

Posted on May 17, 2012 at 7:49 PM

IRVING - Ryan Palmer said he started off this year's HP Byron Nelson Golf Championship where he left off last year.

Palmer lost to Keegan Bradley after the first playoff hole last year. Thursday, he shot a six-under par 64 to lead the tournament after the first round.

"It's a continuation of what we did last year, that's what's really cool about the whole thing," Palmer said after his round, which included three birdies on the front and three on the back. "I knew everything was going in the right direction. It was a matter of putting it all together at once."

He had a bogey-free first round.

Palmer was born in Amarillo, graduated from Texas A&M and now lives in Colleyville.

Because of his local connection, the HP Byron Nelson Championship is a place where he wants to win. He has three PGA Tour wins on his resume; the most recent was the Sony Open in Hawaii in 2010.

"I've got a fifth and sixth major, this one and Colonial,” Palmer said. ”It’s fun to play good in front of friends and family. Maybe that's why I'm so relaxed here, because I go home and hang out."

Palmer also credits Randy Smith, the PGA teaching pro at Royal Oaks Country Club and his caddie, James "The Shot Caller" Edmondson, for his first round.

"We have Randy Smith in James' ear, saying, 'Get your brain ready,' so you sit back, relax, and hit the ball," Palmer said.

The tournament still has 54 holes to go, but Palmer likes where he is after the first round.

"It's great to be in this spot again," he said.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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