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Villegas Takes Lead at Honda

March 1, 2013
By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - With one bold swing, Camilo Villegas turned a solid round at the Honda Classic into his lowest start in more than a year.

Villegas drilled a 3-wood from 263 yards over the water to about 8 feet for an eagle on the par-5 18th hole at PGA National for a 6-under 64 that gave him a one-shot lead and another jolt of confidence as he tries to regain his status on the PGA Tour.

Branden Grace was bullish when it came to the "Bear's Trap" by making birdie on all three holes of the notorious stretch late on the back nine. He made it four in a row with a birdie on the 18th hole and was at 65 with Rickie Fowler, Graham DeLaet of Canada and Robert Streb.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods each opened with 70 and walked away feeling much differently about their day.

Woods played in the cool, cloudy morning and was in danger of a big number late in his round when he decided to take off his socks and shoes, don rain pants and step into a creek to play a shot half-submerged in the water. Instead of taking a drop that could have led to double bogey, he escaped with par and rallied for a 70.

McIlroy was 1 under for his day when his wedge from 105 yards sailed over the green, he chipped to just inside 8 feet and took bogey when he missed the putt. It felt even worse coming on the easiest hole at PGA National, which played about a half-shot below par.

Fact Box


At PGA National (Champion Course)

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Purse: $6 million

Yardage: 7,110; Par: 70 (35-35)

First Round

Camilo Villegas34-30-64

Branden Grace33-32-65

Graham DeLaet31-34-65

Rickie Fowler34-31-65

Robert Streb33-32-65

Boo Weekley35-31-66

Sean O'Hair32-34-66

Dustin Johnson33-33-66

Fabian Gomez35-31-66

Billy Horschel33-33-66

Lee Westwood33-33-66

Seung-Yul Noh32-34-66

Ben Kohles35-31-66

Doug LaBelle II32-34-66

Brian Stuard33-33-66

Charles Howell III31-36-67

Jeff Klauk33-34-67

Chris Stroud32-35-67

Matt Jones34-33-67

Tom Gillis33-34-67

Kevin Stadler33-34-67

Michael Thompson33-34-67

Hank Kuehne33-34-67

Jeff Overton32-35-67

Brian Gay34-33-67

Graeme McDowell33-34-67

D.A. Points34-33-67

Y.E. Yang32-35-67

Patrick Reed34-33-67

Russell Henley34-34-68

Justin Rose36-32-68

Gary Woodland33-35-68

Stewart Cink34-34-68

Chris Kirk31-37-68

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