Camilo Villegas took the first-round lead at the BMW Championship with a 65.
Villegas continues hot play
ST. LOUIS » Camilo Villegas and Steve Stricker were excited to be playing golf yesterday 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.
"Sometimes you really want to be on the golf course and it's going great, and sometimes it's a grind," Villegas said. "You've got to be ready for both. I'm excited right now. I feel really good about my golf."
Stricker made a 35-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 4-under 66, tied with Kenny Perry, Tim Herron, Stuart Appleby and Andres Romero.
The smile on his face had more to do with the putt.
His stomach has been churning the last month during what felt like an audition for the Ryder Cup. Stricker, who was bumped out of automatic qualifying at the PGA Championship, began sweating over every poor shot, every missed putt, and he only exhaled Monday night when U.S. captain Paul Azinger told him he was being selected.
The burden lifted, he played some of his most relaxed golf of the year.
"It was a lot different than the last two weeks," Stricker said. "I didn't feel as much pressure on every shot."
PGA Tour officials breathed easy, too.
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 yesterday morning, with a light rain as players warmed up on the range.
Even so, Bellerive was in decent shape. 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.
Fujikawa misses cut
CRANS-SUR-SIERRE, Switzerland » Rory McIlroy shot an even-par 71 for a share of the lead with defending champion Brett Rumford after the second round of the European Masters, where Hawaii teen Tadd Fujikawa missed the cut.
Fujikawa had a poor start with bogeys at his first three holes en route to a 72 and a 145 total, three strokes off the cut.
Eberl leads Annika by five
HELSINGOER, Denmark » In her final tournament in Europe, Annika Sorenstam shot a 2-under 71 to drop five strokes behind leader Martina Eberl after the first round of the Nykredit Masters. The 37-year-old Sorenstam will retire at the end of the season.
Eberl, from Germany, had a 66 for a one-stroke lead over England's Melissa Reid.