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Ryan Palmer, caddie in tune for lead

IRVING, Texas -- Ryan Palmer’s gut decision to trust virtually all on-course decisions to caddie James Edmondson worked so well at the 2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship, he’s sticking with the game plan again.

So far, so good. Palmer, a resident of nearby Colleyville, Texas, who lost in a sudden-death playoff last year to Keegan Bradley, owns the first-round Nelson lead after shooting a 6-under 64 Thursday at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas.

Player and caddie were again in sync.

“It was a continuation of last year, and we did it to the exact tee today, every tee shot, every second shot,’’ said Palmer.

“For some reason this golf course we have figured something out,’’ Palmer said. “I think it works here because we are so mentally in tune -- we go to other courses, we try it, it’s like are we really doing it or just going through the motions?’’

Palmer said that just like last year, he didn’t move until Edmondson put the bag down and half the time the caddie handed the club to him, Palmer didn’t even know what club it was.

Once in the round, player was handed a club by caddie for an approach to a back-right pin on No. 15.

Said Palmer: “He told me to hit this and drive it hard and low and I said, ‘What’s the carry on the pin?’ And he said 'I don’t care. I want you to hit it here,’ and I hit it to eight feet and made a birdie.’’

The 35-year-old recorded three birdies on each nine but struggled for scambling pars on his final four holes.

“I had big pull hooks on my last four tee shots,’’ Palmer said. “I fought my way in. My short game was awesome, but I was disappointed by the way I kind of locked up on my tee shots.’’

Friday’s forecast is for winds to pick up in the afternoon. That’s fine with Palmer, who is scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m.

“Blow wind blow! Looking at the forecast, my draw is exciting because they are saying 20 to 30 (mph) tomorrow and picking up at 12:45 hopefully, because I’ll be done,'' said Palmer.

He doesn't need a caddie for remaining tournament strategy.

“Shoot a low number early, come out tomorrow morning with calm conditions and maybe we can build on it and set myself up for a big weekend," he said.