Villegas leads at Greensboro

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iol spt aug15 Villegas AP Colombia's Camilo Villegas fired a flawless seven-under-par 63 to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the US PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship. Photo by: Chuck Burton/AP

Greensboro, United States – Colombia's Camilo Villegas fired a flawless seven-under-par 63 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the US PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship.

The final tournament of the US tour's regular season sees players jockeying to make the FedEx Cup playoff tournaments, or just to keep their playing privileges for next season.

Villegas, currently 105th in the FedEx Cup playoff standings, could solidify his position among the top 125 who advance to the first playoff, the Barclays next week in New Jersey.

The Colombian, who won the last of his three US tour titles in 2010, overtook early pace-setters Webb Simpson and William McGirt, who shared second on 64.

It was a further stroke back to England's Paul Casey, Scotland's Martin Laird and Americans Scott Langley, Heath Slocum and Andrew Loupe.

Villegas teed off on 10 and got things going quickly with a birdie at his opening hole at Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina.

He birdied 13 after knocking his approach shot four feet from the hole, and picked up another stroke at the par-five 15th.

At the fourth, he hit his approach from 149 yards out less than a foot from the cup for another birdie, then nearly holed out his second shot at the par-five fifth, sinking his three-foot eagle putt.

He picked up one more birdie at the seventh to seize the lead.

“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,” Villegas added. “I just hit the ball nicely today.”

Simpson teed off at the first and opened with four straight birdies. He picked up another shot at the par-three seventh, and added two more birdies at 12 and 15 before his lone bogey of the day, at the 17th.

“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,” he added. “There's still challenges and there's still spots you can't miss your approaches in, but I started off great.”

McGirt started off slowly, with three birdies and two bogeys on the front nine.

But he came alive with five birdies on the back nine.

“I never played that well here,” said McGirt, who like Simpson is from North Carolina. “It's nice to get off to a good start. It's nice to have friends and family out for a week.” – Sapa-AFP


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