Palmer gets game together
Ryan Palmer has reason to believe that better days are ahead, with his golf game and at home.
Palmer made seven birdies yesterday on another day of ideal scoring conditions at PGA National for a 5-under 65 that gave him a share of the lead with PGA Tour rookie Wesley Bryan (67) going into the weekend at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Rickie Fowler was a shot behind the leaders after his second 66, and Anirban Lahiri was another stroke behind after a 68.
Starting a new year packed with uncertainty over matters far more important than golf, Palmer returned from a four-month break and missed the cut in his first four events. The long break was to be at home with his wife, Jennifer, who is recovering from breast cancer. She had surgery and Palmer’s season ended in September. He spent the rest of the year helping her cope with chemotherapy and at home with their two children.
Bryan had a rough start to his rookie season until turning it around last week at Riviera, where he got within 2 shots of Dustin Johnson at one point in the third round until the new world No. 1 pulled away to win easily.
Fowler started 66-66 a year ago, becoming the first player to go bogey-free over the opening 36 holes at PGA National. But he went 71-74 on the weekend and was never a factor. Now Fowler feels his game is in good shape. His last PGA Tour victory was at the Deutsch Bank Championship in Norton in 2015. . . .
Paul Waring led by 1 shot after 12 holes of his second round when play was suspended for bad light at the Joburg Open in Johannesburg. . . .
Unseasonal heavy rain in Chonburi forced LPGA Thailand organizers to suspend second-round play. . . .
Former U.S. Open and Masters champion Angel Cabrera is being investigated in Buenos Aires for allegedly causing “minor injuries” to his ex-girlfriend.
U.S. soccer teams up
Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan are among 23 players named to the U.S. women’s national team’s roster for the SheBelieves Cup tournament next month.
Coach Jill Ellis drew the players for the roster from a pre-tournament training camp. The event, which will include Germany, France and England playing in three doubleheaders across three cities, opens Wednesday in Chester, Pa.
Megan Rapinoe was not among the players invited to camp as she continues to regain form following knee surgery. Meghan Klingenberg, who is still recovering from a back injury, and Amy Rodriguez, coming off the birth of her second child, were also left off the roster.
Brianna Pinto, who is just 16, is among three players on the roster who have never made an appearance with the national team. . . .
The United States advanced to the second round of qualifying for the Under-20 World Cup as Sebastian Saucedo scored twice in a 4-1 win over St. Kitts and Nevis at Tibas, Costa Rica.
Gordon leads way
Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon will drive the honorary pace car for the Daytona 500 tomorrow. Gordon will lead the field to green behind the wheel of a 2017 Camaro ZL1. Gordon, a three-time Daytona 500 champion, retired after the 2015 season and returned to drive in eight Cup races last season, subbing for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. . . .
Team Penske has locked up a major portion of its NASCAR program by signing driver Joey Logano, crew chief Todd Gordon and sponsor Shell-Pennzoil to extensions that run through “2022 and beyond.”
Vonn leads opt out
Lindsey Vonn wasn’t about to risk another injury, and neither was Mikaela Shiffrin.
Vonn and Shiffrin, along with some of their American teammates on the World Cup tour, pulled out of the Alpine combined race in Crans Montana, Switzerland, because of dangerous conditions on the course. The first three racers all crashed, and one was taken away on a stretcher with a knee injury. The event was then postponed.