Local boy Palmer on top in Texas

Texas native Ryan Palmer led the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Irving by one stroke at the end of round one as he looked to go one better than last year.

The 35-year-old, who was runner-up to Keegan Bradley in a play-off in 2011 in his home state, carded a six-under 64 to lead by one from Australia’s Marc Leishman and Alex Cejka of Germany.

Palmer put together a consistent round, registering three birdies on the front nine and three on the back, without dropping a shot.

The American said he felt comfortable all day on a course that holds positive memories.

“[It was a] continuation from last year – that’s what’s cool about the whole thing,” he told www.pgatour.com.

“It was great. [I] felt great all morning, [the] warm-up was great. I knew everything was going in the right direction.”

Cejka was also flawless in his round with five birdies, while Leishman produced fireworks on the back nine.

He eagled the par-four 11th and the par-five 16th, but was hampered by a bogey at the ninth.

“I drove the ball a lot better than I have been,” Leishman said. “I think I only missed two or three fairways for the day.

“[I] haven’t been hitting a lot of fairways this year so far...it’s an easy game from the fairway, I’ll say that.

“I drove it well and held the par putts that kept the round going, and...obviously two eagles helped as well.”

Behind Cejka and Leishman was a group of seven Americans, including Matt Kuchar, on four under, while Ricky Barnes and England’s Greg Owen were among 13 players on three under.

Padraig Harrington was two under for a share of 24th alongside Vijay Singh among others, while Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Scotland’s Russell Knox were all level par.

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