Brandt Snedeker leads at BMW Championship

Associated Press photo by Charles Rex ArbogastBrandt Snedeker reacts after missing a birdie attempt on the eighth green during the first round of the BMW Championship on Thursday at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill.
Associated Press photo by Charles Rex ArbogastBrandt Snedeker reacts after missing a birdie attempt on the eighth green during the first round of the BMW Championship on Thursday at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Brandt Snedeker was making so many birdies that even an 18-foot putt looked like a mere tap-in.

When he finished his amazing run Thursday in the BMW Championship, he had seven straight birdies on his card and an 8-under 63 at blustery Conway Farms.

“You get on runs like that, you get excited for the next hole because you know something good is going to happen, because you’re in such a good frame of mind and everything is going in the right direction,” Snedeker said.

In this case, everything was going in — a 15-foot putt from the fringe on the 13th, another 15-footer on the next hole when he used the blade of his sand wedge to bump the ball out of the short rough, and a 40-footer from the fringe on the 17th stood out to him.

That gave him a one-shot lead over Zach Johnson in the third FedEx Cup playoff event. Tiger Woods sounded disgusted with his round of 66, mainly because he had a pair of three-putt bogeys and missed a 4-foot birdie putt on his last five holes.

“I’m not exactly real happy,” Woods said. “I played well, and I just didn’t get much out of that round. I missed three little short ones in there and then played the par 5s even par. That’s just not very good.”

Steve Stricker, Charl Schwartzel and Kevin Streelman also were at 66.

The opening round was mainly about the debut of Conway Farms, a Tom Fazio design north of Chicago which has a blend of strong holes and plenty of birdie opportunities on par 4s where players hit wedge for their second shot. Low scoring was predicted, and Snedeker’s round was proof. But as the wind picked up and shifted, the course was far from a pushover.

The top 30 players in the FedEx Cup after the BMW Championship advance to the Tour Championship next week and a shot at the $10 million prize.

Webcom Tour

H erman sets early pace: In Columbus, Ohio, Jim Herman shot a 7-under 64 on Thursday and built a two-shot lead over Sean O’Hair and Danny Lee among those who finished the rain-delayed opening round of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on the Web.com Tour.

Rain caused a three-hour delay in the morning, and the first round could not be completed until Friday.

Herman hit one shot before the delay, and then returned to hit 9-iron to 10 feet for birdie. That turned out to be his longest birdie of the round.

Andrew Svoboda, who won last week in North Carolina to clinch a PGA Tour card, was 4 under through 16 holes when darkness stopped play.

This is the third of four tournaments in the Web.Com Tour Finals, where players are trying to earn PGA cards. The fields are a mixture of Web.com Tour players from the top 75 on the money list, and the 75 players who failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour.

PGA Europe

Jimenez shoots 64 to lead KLM Open after 1st round: In Zandvoort, Netherlands, nearly two decades after winning this tournament for the first time, Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain shot a 6-under 64 Thursday for the first-round lead at the KLM Open.

Jimenez, the 1994 champion, had two bogeys and eight birdies. One of his birdies came when he holed a wedge from 40 yards at the 16th. Another on the 18th gave him the outright lead.

Robert Allenby of Australia and Gary Orr of Scotland are among a group of six players at 65 at Kennemer Golf and Country Club on the North Sea coast.