In the week-off between the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship, Brandt Snedeker didn’t touch a golf club until Wednesday’s pro-am at Conway Farms. In fact, he wasn’t even feeling that great with the putter, until he rolled in a 14-footer from the fringe on no. 13 (teed off no. 10) for birdie that propelled him to make six more in a row.
Snedeker fired a bogey-free, eight-under 63, to take a one-shot lead over Zach Johnson (64) in the first round.
The reigning FedExCup champion ended up with just 22 putts, and once the birdies started falling, he gained more confidence and started going flag hunting, according to PGATour.com’s Helen Ross:
“I try and put the pedal down,” he said. “When I get going good, I realize 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 three feet eight times in a row. Just got to hit the green sometimes and it’s going to happen. I think that helps a lot, too.
“I realize these runs are few and far between, so when I get on one, I try to run as hard as I can for as long as I can.”
During his birdie run, Snedeker dropped in two putts from the fringe, with the second being a 37-footer. The other birdie putts he holed ranged from 6-18 feet.
“To roll off seven birdies in a row kind of came out of nowhere,” Snedeker acknowledged. “I wasn’t expecting it. I hadn’t been playing the best to say the least, and to get on a roll like that is always welcoming.
“Great frame of mind, looking forward to the rest of the week. I realize it’s going to be a completely different golf course tomorrow if the wind changes. Excited I got my one low one in me out of the way early and go out and play some solid golf the rest of the week.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Streelman, one of the hometown favorites, Steve Stricker, Charl Schwartzel and Tiger Woods all fired five-under 66s for a share of third place.
Despite holing a 22-footer for birdie to end the day, Woods was frustrated with his performance on the greens, missing three putts inside five feet.
“The familiarity, I just don’t quite have it, and some of the putts are a little bit tricky here and there,” Woods said via ESPN.com’s Bob Harig. “But (caddie) Joey (LaCava) did a great job of getting the numbers and getting a feel for the golf course, and we talked about it at length yesterday as we were playing the pro-am, and what the wind direction was going to be for today and tomorrow and had a really good game plan.”
Uh-oh, “tricky” — that’s one of those adjective you don’t necessarily want to hear Tiger describe a golf course.
Conway Farms is a first-time venue for the BMW Championship, so aside from Luke Donald, who played a large role in bringing the event to his home course, few guys were familiar with the course.
Rory McIlroy, who entered the event 41st in FEC points, needs a strong week to advance to the Tour Championship. Instead, he went the wrong way, posting a seven-over 78 to kick off the tournament. Obviously, he’ll need some low rounds if he’s going to keep his season alive. He spent part of his bye-week in NYC with his tennis player girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki and then he headed down to the Bahamas over the weekend.