Villegas leads by 1 at Wyndham Championship
Greensboro, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Camilo Villegas opened up with a 7-under 63 on Thursday and he holds a 1-shot lead heading into the second round of the Wyndham Championship, the final event on the PGA Tour's regular season schedule.
Villegas, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, last won at the Honda Classic in 2010. Villegas is currently No. 105 in the FedExCup playoff standings, with the top 125 moving on to the postseason.
Webb Simpson, who won this event back in 2011 and always seems to play well in Greensboro, is tied for second place at 6-under 64 at Sedgefield Country Club. Thursday's round was the 10th time the 2012 U.S. Open champion has shot a 66 or better at this event.
Joining Simpson at 6-under 64 at Sedgefield Country Club was William McGirt, who has never won on the PGA Tour. McGirt is No. 91 in the FedExCup standings.
Scott Langley, Martin Laird, Paul Casey, Heath Slocum and Andrew Loupe are all tied for fourth at 5-under 65. A total of 10 players finished the first round at 4-under 66 and are three shots back.
Starting on the back nine, Villegas got things started with a birdie at the par-4 10th hole. Following two straight pars, Villegas stuck his approach shot four feet from the hole at No. 13. He kicked that in for his second birdie of the day.
Villegas made another birdie at the par-5 15th, helping him move to 3-under on the day. Villegas made the turn with three straight pars from 16.
Three more pars preceded another birdie at No. 4, where his approach from 149 yards out stuck less than a foot from the hole. Villegas nearly holed out on his second shot at the par-5 fifth and he poured in his 3-foot putt for eagle, getting him to minus-6. One more birdie at No. 7 followed by two straight pars rounded out Villegas' day, giving him the lead heading into day two.
"It was nice to go without bogeys and I think it probably showed it was a consistent round," Villegas said. "Kept it in the fairway, kept it on the greens and just made the putts when I hit it close. Only missed one green, 11, got up and down and other than that I think my birdie putts weren't even that long. I just hit the ball nicely today."
Simpson, starting at No. 1, came storming out of the gate with four straight birdies. Simpson finished off his front nine with four pars and another birdie at the par-3 seventh. He shot a 30 on the front nine.
Simpson made two more birdies on the back nine at 12 and 15. His lone blemish on the day came at No. 17 when he 2-putted for bogey after his approach shot came up just short of the green. Simpson finished things up with a par at 18 to end one shot off the pace.
"I was hitting it good. This course, if you hit it in the fairways and you give yourself chances, you're going to make some birdies, and that was kind of all I did today all day," Simpson said. "It's still tough enough. There's still challenges and there's still spots you can't miss your approaches in, but I started off great, 4-under through four. Should have been 5-under through five."
McGirt made three birdies at two, five and seven to go along with bogeys at one and three, putting him at 1-under as he made the turn. McGirt shot a 30 on the back nine with birdies at 10, 12, 13, 15 and 18 to join Simpson at minus-6.
"I never played that well here," said McGirt, who is from North Carolina like Simpson. "It's nice to get off to a good start. It's nice to have friends and family out for a week. I had mom and dad up here today and a bunch of old friends from home, so it's nice to actually play well in front of them for once."
NOTES: Villegas has struggled so far this year. He does not have a top-10 finish, with his best finish coming at the St. Jude Classic, where he ended tied for 11th ... Simpson's last win came at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open earlier this season ... McGirt has finished in the top-10 twice this year, including a tie for sixth at the Northern Trust Open ... Defending champion Patrick Reed finished his first round at 1-over 71 ... Of those at 5- under, Casey (No. 125), Laird (No. 136), Loupe (No. 145) and Slocum (No. 158) are all fighting to get into the top 125 for a chance to play in the FedExCup playoffs.
08/14 20:47:43 ET