Palmer fires 63, leads Deutsche Bank by 2

08/29/2014 8:06 PM

08/29/2014 8:06 PM

Norton, MA ( - Ryan Palmer fired an 8-under 63 on Friday to grab a 2-stroke lead after the opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Palmer, who has three PGA Tour wins, finished second at the Humana Challenge and again at the Honda Classic earlier this year.

Local favorite Keegan Bradley is alone in second place after carding a 65 on Friday. Chesson Hadley, 2010 runner-up Jason Day and 2011 winner Webb Simpson share third place at minus-5.

Ian Poulter, who shared ninth here last year, posted a 4-under 67 at TPC Boston. He was joined in sixth place by Carl Pettersson, Bill Haas, Russell Knox and Jordan Spieth.

Defending champion Henrik Stenson opened with a 1-under 70 and is tied for 26th after one round. Among those he is tied with is world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who birdied three of his first four holes on Friday. However, McIlroy mixed two birdies and three bogeys over his final six holes to slide to minus-1.

Palmer played the back nine first on Friday and stumbled to a bogey on the 10th as he drove into a native area. He erased that mistake with a 13-foot birdie putt on the 11th.

The 37-year-old made an 8-footer for birdie on No. 12 to get into red figures. After a pair of pars, Palmer converted back-to-back birdie putts at 15 and 16 from inside seven feet.

Palmer stuffed his approach inside two feet on No. 17. After he kicked that in for birdie, Palmer 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 18th for his fourth straight birdie.

Around the turn, Palmer played his third at the par-5 second to seven feet. He made that for birdie to move to minus-6. At the fifth, he rolled in a 23-foot birdie chance to grab the lead.

Palmer parred three in a row from the sixth. He capped his round with a birdie putt from 18 feet out on the ninth, his last.

"I've had that good feeling (with my putter) since the Open Championship. I took a small tip from (Shawn) Stefani, who was talking about his putting changes. I took a little something from that," admitted Palmer, who needed just 21 putts in his opening round.

"It's been great the past couple of months. My short putting has been phenomenal, I felt. I'm making a lot more putts inside six feet. When you get the putts going from 15 (feet) and in, especially for birdie, it makes for good days."

Early in the day, Bradley got off to a quick start with birdies at one and three. After a pair of pars, he converted an 11-footer for birdie at the sixth.

The 2011 PGA Champion made it two in a row as his third at the par-5 seventh stopped inside two feet and he kicked that in for birdie.

After nine pars in a row, Bradley moved to minus-5 with a 15-foot birdie effort on No. 17. He closed with an up-and-down birdie from a greenside bunker at the 18th.

"It was a battle mentally with all that is going on, so I'm proud of the way I hung in there today. I think I've gotten to the point where it's going to help," said Bradley, who grew up in Vermont, of playing in front of friends and family. "My first couple of years, I tried to play too well. Now, I'm kind of embracing it and today was a good example of that."

NOTES: Palmer had two putts outside of 13 feet all day, and he made both for birdie ... Palmer is playing in his 16th FedExCup playoff event, and he has just one top-10 finish in his previous 15 starts ... 100 players qualified for this tournament, but only 93 are competing ... Paul Casey and Tim Clark withdrew before the event, and therefore will not advance in the FedExCup playoffs because they are outside the top 70, which is the cutoff for next week's field at the BMW Championship.

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