Camilo Villegas and Steve Stricker were excited to be playing golf Friday for different reasons, and it showed during a soggy start to the BMW Championship.
Villegas, coming off a tie for third last week that allowed him to advance in the PGA Tour Playoffs, continued his good form with eight birdies on long, soft Bellerive Country Club for a 5-under 65 that gave him a one-shot lead.
The 26-year-old Colombian believes winning is a process, and it appears to be accelerating with each round.
The first round Thursday was postponed because of 3 inches of rain that about turned Bellerive into a water park. The forecast called for the storm to pass in the afternoon, but it stubbornly stayed through Friday morning, with a light rain as players warmed up on the range.
Even so, Bellerive was in decent shape. Some tees were moved forward, and hole locations were on high ground. Players were able to lift, clean and place their golf balls through the fairway. And while the course played every bit of its 7,324 yards, firing at the flags was merely target practice.
Thirty-six players in the 69-man field man field broke par, a group that did not include Vijay Singh, winner of the first two events in the finale for the FedEx Cup.
Singh remains virtually a lock unless someone close in the standings wins the last two events. But he hardly looked like the guy who won a playoff at Barclays and closed with a 63 to win the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Garcia and Mike Weir, who is No. 3 and shot 69, played in the same group as Singh. Garcia also played with him in the final round at the TPC Boston, only it wasn’t the same Singh.
Leaderboard – Round 1:
1. Camilo Villegas COL 65 – 5
2. Tim Herron USA 66 – 4
Andres Romero ARG 66 – 4
Stuart Appleby AUS 66 – 4
Steve Stricker USA 66 – 4
Kenny Perry USA 66 – 4
7. Fredrik Jacobson SWE 67 – 3
Dudley Hart USA 67 – 3
Tim Clark SAF 67 – 3
Chez Reavie USA 67 – 3
Brian Gay USA 67 – 3