Numbers in Palmer’s favor at The Barclays

Ryan Palmer reacts after a birdie on the fifth hole during the first round of The Barclays.

Ryan Palmer reacts after a birdie on the fifth hole during the first round of The Barclays.

PARAMUS, N.J. – If you’re the type that likes to bet with the numbers, you’d probably put your money on Tiger Woods to be in the mix this weekend at The Barclays after his first-round 65. But don’t forget about Ryan Palmer.

Palmer started with a front-nine charge that was reminiscent of that other Palmer guy named Arnie. Ryan birdied his first six holes and seven of eight to card a front-nine 28.

“One of the best starts of the year,” he said.

A double bogey at No. 10 stopped him in his tracks and a bogey on No. 18 dropped him one shot shy of a share of the lead with 66.

So why should you keep an eye on Palmer? Thursday has been his bugaboo all season. This is only the sixth time all year he’s cracked 70 in the first round (he averages 71.54). His low first round of the year is a 65. His result? A win at the Sony Open in January.

Friday may be Palmer’s most important round. His scoring average before the cut is 71.63, which ranks 163rd on the PGA Tour this season.

When he gets to play the weekend, Palmer has a knack for going low, such as the third-round 63 he shot at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational when he finished runner-up. How good has he been on the weekend? His third round scoring average is 69.11, ninth-best on Tour. But the final round is when he really heats up, averaging 68.50, second-best on Tour.

It’s been a feast or famine year for Palmer, with a win and a second but he has also missed the cut in more than half his tournaments (12 of 21).

If you believe the numbers, this may be another week for Palmer to feast.

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