Lake Forest: Brandt Snedeker wielded a red-hot putter to pile up a PGA Tour season-best seven consecutive birdies on the way to a one-shot lead in Thursday’s opening round of the BMW Championship.
The fast-talking American fired a flawless eight-under-par 63 despite tricky, gusting conditions at Conway Farms Golf Club to seize control of the third of the PGA Tour’s four lucrative FedExCup playoff events.
Helped by a 40-foot putt which he sank from the back fringe of the green at the par-three 17th, his eighth hole of the day, Snedeker reeled off seven consecutive birdies from the 13th to rocket to the top of the leaderboard.
Compatriot Zach Johnson opened with a seven-birdie 64 and world No. 1 Tiger Woods shot a 66 to end the day level with fellow Americans Steve Stricker and Kevin Streelman, and South African Charl Schwartzel, but Snedeker commanded the spotlight.
“It was one of those days where everything seemed to go right in the middle of the round,” Snedeker, the reigning FedExCup champion, told reporters after totalling only 22 putts in an eight-birdie display.
“Got off to kind of a slow start and made a great birdie from off the green on 13 that got everything moving in the right direction. To roll off seven birdies in a row kind of came out of nowhere. I wasn’t expecting it.
“When I get going good, I realise it doesn’t happen all the time, so I instantly become more aggressive. I think being a good putter helps, too, because I don’t really have to hit it (to) three feet eight times in a row.”
Snedeker, a six-times winner on the PGA Tour who has triumphed twice this season, was a little disappointed he did not end up with a lower score.