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 over 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 of that.
But as the wind picked up and shifted directions, the course was far from a pushover.