GREENSBORO, N.C. — Camilo Villegas opened with a 7-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead in the Wyndham Championship, the final event before the PGA Tour’s playoffs.
North Carolina natives Webb Simpson and William McGirt shot 64, and Scott Langley, Heath Slocum, Paul Casey, Andrew Loupe and Martin Laird were another stroke back at Sedgefield.
Villegas hasn’t won since 2010 and has only two top-10 finishes in the last three years.
After pulling out of the Canadian Open after one round last month, he spent the past week back in his native Colombia for “a little recharge” – leaving his clubs behind in Florida.
Simpson, the 2011 winner, hopes to make an impression on U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson. His three captain’s picks are due next month. Simpson finished 15th on the Ryder Cup points list.
Thompson, Lee in the lead at LPGA
PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Lexi Thompson and South Korea’s Meena Lee shot 6-under-66 on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the LPGA Championship, the fourth major championship of the season.
Thompson, the Kraft Nabisco winner in April for her first major title, and Lee each made eight birdies and a pair of bogeys at Monroe Golf Club to finish a stroke ahead of ahead of Brittany Lincicome, Colombia’s Lisa McCloskey and Canadian rookie Jennifer Kirby.
Shanshan Feng of China, the tournament winner two years ago, was tied for sixth at 68 with 2010 champion Cristie Kerr. Catriona Matthew of Scotland, runner-up a year ago to South Korea’s Inbee Park, was tied at 69 with seven other players. Park was at even-par 72, one shot better than Paula Creamer and Karrie Webb.
Top-ranked Stacy Lewis, a three-time winner this year, started on the back nine and birdied three of the first five holes, then faltered with three straight bogeys before the turn. She finished at 71.
Yang among U.S. Amateur quarterfinalists
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — South Korea’s Gunn Yang advanced to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals, birdieing the final three holes to beat top-ranked Ollie Schniederjans 1 up at Atlanta Athletic Club.
Yang, a San Diego State sophomore making his first appearance in the tournament, was down a hole against Schniederjans, a senior at Georgia Tech, after 15 holes. Yang won the par-16th with a 6-foot putt, took the par-3 17th with another 6-footer and finished off the hometown favorite with a tap-in on the par-5 18th.
In the morning, Yang beat England’s Paul Howard 4 and 3 in the round of 32. Yang will play Cameron Young of Scarborough, New York, in the quarterfinals. Young – a participant in this year’s Junior Invitational at Sage Valley – beat Kyle Jones of Taylor, Arizona 1 up.
In the other upper-bracket quarterfinal, 36-year-old Pittsburgh financial adviser Nathan Smith will play Frederick Wedel of The Woodlands, Texas. In the lower bracket, Canada’s Corey Conners will play Zachary Olsen of Cordova, Tennessee; and Roman Robledo of Harlingen, Texas, will face Denny McCarthy of Rockville, Maryland.
Bjorn in three-way tie for lead in Denmark
AALBORG, Denmark — Danish star Thomas Bjorn shot a 5-under 66 for a share of the first-round lead in the Made in Denmark tournament, boosting his chances of securing a spot on Europe’s Ryder Cup.
The 43-year-old Bjorn has 15 European Tour victories. Chile’s Felipe Aguilar and Wales’ Bradley Dredge also shot 66. Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen was fourth after a 69 at Himmerland.