Powerful Palmer can make hay in soft early conditions
Wind set to get up in the afternoon
Sky Sports 4, 9pm Thursday
Tournament starts 1.20pm
Morning starters may gain an advantage on day one of the Houston Open in Texas, and Ryan Palmer could be set to get out of the blocks quickly.
Palmer, a Texan who relishes performing in his home state, has been handed a perfect tee-time – first off from the tenth tee at 7.20am local (1.20pm UK and Ireland).
The Golf Club of Houston should be soft, having been drenched by overnight storms, meaning fairways and greens can be attacked with confidence.
Palmer possesses the necessary driving distance to overcome the yardage in the damp conditions and there have been signs in recent weeks that he is rediscovering top form.
With the breeze set to increase as the day wears on, Palmer can threaten for first-round-leader honours at 100-1.
Palmer struggled badly at the start of the year, unable to concentrate on golf with his wife suffering from breast cancer, but she is recovering well and her husband’s on-course results are improving too.
He has comfortably made his last two cuts and a putting lesson with flat-stick guru Dave Stockton has restored belief on the greens.
Palmer has four top-25 finishes to his name at the GC of Houston and his last competitive start in Texas resulted in third place in the Dean & Deluca Invitational last May.
He tightens up in contention but is a streaky player who is well capable of opening up with something in the mid-60s in the Lone Star State.
The two most glamorous groups of the day are out late – Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott and JB Holmes tee off at 7pm UK and Ireland time, while Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Patrick Reed commence ten minutes later.
R Palmer first-round leader
1pt each-way 100-1 BetBright, Hills