Wi shoots 64 for lead in final PGA event of year
Getting off to a quick start is nothing new for Charlie Wi. The hard part is figuring out how to finish. Wi took the 18-hole lead for the...
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Getting off to a quick start is nothing new for Charlie Wi. The hard part is figuring out how to finish.
Wi took the 18-hole lead for the third time this year — and the eighth time in his PGA Tour career — by closing with back-to-back birdies Thursday for an 8-under-par 64 on the easier Palm Course at Disney. That gave him a one-shot lead over Camilo Villegas and Tommy Gainey in the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
This is the 184th career start for Wi on the PGA Tour and he's still looking for his first win.
Wi atop the leaderboard was a reminder that there's more at stake in the final PGA Tour event of the year than players trying to keep their jobs. Each event is another opportunity for Wi to get his first win, and that's what it would take for him to have a chance of getting into the top 30 on the money list to earn his first trip to the Masters.
"Top 30 is definitely a goal," Wi said. "I'm not just showing up to play. You've got to have goals. I at least want to give myself a chance."
Villegas, a rising star in 2008 when he won consecutive FedEx Cup playoff events and rose to No. 7 in the world, has fallen on tough times. He hasn't won since then, failed to qualify for any of the majors this year, has plunged to No. 214 in the world ranking and is at No. 150 on the money list. Only the top 125 earn their full cards for next year, and if Villegas falls out of the top 150, he'll have to go to the second stage of Q-school.
The top 12 scores came from the Palm, which played about 1.7 shots easier than the Magnolia, where the final two rounds will be played. Henrik Stenson and Charles Howell III were among five players whose 68 was the best score at Magnolia.
Brian Harman, Scott Stallings and Russell Knox shot 66. Kevin Chappell, No. 123 on the money list, was in the group at 67.
Ex-Husky Richard H. Lee, No. 135 on the money list, shot a 74.
• Michelle Wie shot a 6-under 66 for a share of the first-round lead in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico with Angela Stanford and Candie Kung. The 2009 tournament winner for the first of her two LPGA Tour victories, Wie birdied the first two holes at Guadalajara Country Club and opened the back nine with four straight birdies to match her lowest score of the year. Second-ranked Stacy Lewis was a stroke back along with Inbee Park, Cristie Kerr, So Yeon Ryu and Karine Icher. Ochoa opened with a 71.
• Thailand's Chapchai Nirat shot a 6-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead after the completion of the first round in the rain-delayed Singapore Open. Top-ranked Rory McIlroy finished off a 70.