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Brandt Snedeker leads at BMW Championship

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 consecutive birdies on his card and an eight-under-par 63 at blustery Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Ill.

"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.

He had 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 four-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."

Steve Stricker, Charl Schwartzel and Kevin Streelman also were at 66.

Low scoring was predicted at Conway Farms, north of Chicago, and Snedeker's round was proof of that. But as the wind picked up and shifted directions, the course was far from a pushover.

Rickie Fowler opened with a pair of double bogeys, followed by a pair of bogeys. He rallied for a 77. Rory McIlroy made a double bogey — his ninth of the FedEx Cup playoffs — on his second hole, and then three-putted from four feet for a triple bogey and staggered to a 78. Lee Westwood, fighting severe pain in his back and ribs, had an 80.

"There's a good mixture of really hard holes and really good birdie opportunities. I think that makes for exciting golf," Phil Mickelson said after opening with a 70. "That's why we have such a discrepancy in scores."

The top 30 players in the FedEx Cup after the BMW Championship advance to the Tour Championship next week at East Lake and a shot at the $10-million prize.

Westwood is at No. 30 and probably played himself out of a trip to East Lake, though he didn't appear to be healthy enough to play. McIlroy is at No. 41 and all but took himself out of the Tour Championship. He needs to finish somewhere around seventh in the 70-man field. His 78 put him in a tie for 66th.

"It's going to be a very uphill task," McIlroy said. "I'll try to get to even par as quickly as I can."

Rainout in France

The first day of play at the LPGA's Evian Championship was washed out after heavy morning rain soaked the newly designed course at Evian-les-Bains, France.

Players were on the course for less than one hour before being forced to come off, and organizers decided to restart the round Friday with Thursday's scores annulled.

Officials still hope to complete the tournament on time by playing 36 holes on Sunday.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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