LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Brandt Snedeker had an amazing run of seven straight birdies Thursday at the BMW Championship and finished with an 8-under 63 at blustery Conway Farms.
That gave him a one-shot lead over Zach Johnson in the third FedEx Cup playoff event.
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.
Davis High graduate Nick Watney got off to a strong start in his quest to be among those 30. Entering the tournament at 34th in the FedEx standings, Watney needs to finish among the leaders to earn his Tour Championship spot.
He was there Thursday after a first-round 67 put him in a tie for seventh. The former Blue Devil opened with a birdie on the first hole, then finished strong with three more on the back nine, including Nos. 15 and 16.
Watney is one shot behind Tiger Woods, who sounded disgusted with his round of 66, mainly because he had a pair of three-putt bogeys and missed a 4-foot birdie putt over his last five holes.
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 that 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 of that.
But as the wind picked up and shifted directions, the course was far from a pushover.