Golf • Camilo Villegas takes lead with a late eagle at the Honda Classic
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.
"I wasn't trying to advance it very far, just make sure I got it back in the fairway and give myself some kind of wedge shot in there, which I did," Woods said.
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.
In Singapore, Spain's Azahara Munoz shot a 7-under 65 Thursday for a two-stroke lead after the first round of the HSBC Women's Champions, which features 17 of the top 20 LPGA players.
Munoz played in the day's first group and finished with seven birdies. Five players at Sentosa Golf Club shared second at 67: Stacy Lewis, Karin Sjodin, Lizette Salas, Pornanong Phatlum and Sun Young Yoo.
Paula Creamer was in a four-way tie at 68 despite an injured right shoulder from a car accident. The five-car accident happened on the way to the airport after the Honda LPGA tournament in Thailand.