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Palmer energized by roars for Tiger

Monday, April 11, 2011

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Double bogey. Par. Bogey.

Ryan Palmer's second Sunday at the Masters Tournament didn't exactly start with much fanfare at 3-over before teeing up at No. 4, but it surely ended that way and included a face-to-face experience with Tigermania.

Palmer rebounded from his rough start to shoot 2-under 70 and finish the Masters at 6-under and alone in 10th place.

That marks the highest finish in a major for Palmer, who missed the cut here last year. Adding to his top-10 performance is the bonus of automatically qualifying for the 2012 Masters.

"It was looking like a rough one today with that start," Palmer said. "So I feel like I didn't win a tournament, but I feel like I did something unbelievable."

Making an eagle at No. 13 and four birdies in the final 11 holes on Sunday at Augusta National qualifies as unbelievable for a player competing in only his 10th Masters round.

"My game was in great shape, I was rolling the ball good and I knew I was going to have chances on the back nine," Palmer said. "That's where I had made all my birdies all week long. So I didn't get down (after the poor start)."

Palmer's day bloomed on No. 13 when he recorded his second eagle at the Masters. Palmer's second shot at the par 5 from 187 yards out with a 6-iron left him within eight feet.

The eagle put him at 4-under, and by the time he walked off No. 15 he was at 6-under after a pair of birdies.

While on No. 16, he backed off his tee shot a couple of times because of the roar Tiger Woods, playing one hole behind Palmer, had created by making a birdie. Palmer finally said what the heck, and gestured to the crowd to keep going crazy.

"That was cool, I have to admit," Palmer said of experiencing Tigermania between the ropes. "When he had the eagle at No. 8, Kooch (playing partner Matt Kuchar) and I looked at each other walking down the fairway and said this could be historical. It was pretty neat hearing all the roars.

"Sixteen was crazy. I kept backing off and laughing. I just got in the middle of it and said, 'Come on, let me hear it.' And we had about a five-minute roaring session. There is nothing like hearing those roars through the trees."

Palmer said earning a top-10 finish at the Masters no doubt is a career booster.

"This was something to show I'm proving to myself more and more I can contend in these bigger tournaments," Palmer said. "I finished second at Akron, continued it at Whistling Straits last year and then out here today.

"It was a fun day, a special day to come out in this atmosphere and solidify a top-10 finish in a major tournament for the first time. I'm almost speechless."

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