A Palmer charge leaves two stars in his wake

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. – Ryan Palmer stole the show in the marquee pairing Saturday at the BMW Championship.

Palmer shot a 5-under-par 67, besting Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy, who both struggled to 72s. Palmer’s effort left him in second place going to Sunday, three shots behind Billy Horschel.

“I’m just proud of the way I fought and hung in there today,” Palmer said. “Being in that atmosphere, I’m not used to, playing with Rory and Sergio in the final group, with that kind of crowd.”

Palmer said McIlroy and Garcia were clearly the crowd favorites.

“You heard a lot of `Rorys’ and `Sergios,’ but I had a few `Ryans’ out there,” Palmer said. “I had my 10, 15 people yelling for me, as opposed to their hundreds.

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“I know that Rory, he’s No. 1 in the world, and Sergio has been up there for years. So, for me to come out and hang in there and play well, I’m taking the next step in my career, I think, and hopefully tomorrow we can give myself a chance down the end.”

Palmer, a three-time PGA Tour winner, started the week No. 37 in FedEx Cup points. He’s projected to go to No. 9 based on his second-place position. He would be the only player from outside the top 30 this week to crack the ceiling and earn his way to the Tour Championship. Keegan Bradley is the only player projected to get bumped out of the top 30. Bradley withdrew Saturday morning.

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