Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Palmer Able to Persevere; Playing with a Heavy Heart, He Remains in Contention after 69

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Palmer Able to Persevere; Playing with a Heavy Heart, He Remains in Contention after 69

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Elliott

Ryan Palmer shot a 3-under 69 on Friday to go with his opening-day 67 and assure his spot for the weekend at The Players Championship. To Palmer's credit, the 69 was more impressive, considering the sleepless night he endured before Friday's round.

Palmer received a call Thursday evening with the news that his best friend, Clay Aderholt, was killed in a car wreck in San Antonio that night.

"[We go back to] grade school, junior high [Bonham Middle School], all-stars, baseball, basketball, high school [Amarillo High], even went to [Texas] A&M, as well," Palmer said. "All the way back as long as I can remember.

"I got a call from my financial adviser who lives in his neighborhood and he told me what happened. It was a restless night, to say the least."

The news overshadowed Palmer's two best rounds at The Players since he first played in the tournament in 2005. In 16 previous rounds here, he had never posted a sub-70 score until this week. His two-day total of 136 left him tied for sixth, three shots off the lead.

Palmer had made just one cut at the Players (2007) in seven years and his final score of 295 that year was the second highest in the tournament, finishing 75th.

He's in line for a higher and more lucrative finish this time, providing he can keep his emotions in check the next two days. While it was tough to do so on Friday, Palmer said he was able to maintain his concentration throughout the round.

"My mind was good today, all things considered, but it's great to feel good to be in contention here at this tournament where I've struggled," Palmer said. "I am excited about the weekend."

Palmer paid tribute to Aderholt by writing the letters C-A on both sides of his hat. He said he did not consider withdrawing from the tournament after learning the news of his late friend's death. …

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