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Villegas ties Phoenix Open record with first-round 62

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The memory of a missed 3-foot putt did nothing to diminish Camilo Villegas' game Thursday in the Phoenix Open.

The 28-year-old from Colombia tied the tournament first-round record with a 9-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over former Gator teammate Matt Every.

Villegas had a bogey-free round after making the semifinals of the WGC Match Play Championship last weekend but missed a short putt that would have put him in the final.

Ryuji Imada of Tampa, Justin Rose, Mark Wilson, Rickie Fowler and Pat Perez were three back at TPC Scottsdale. Phil Mickelson and defending champ Kenny Perry were in a group at 68.

Villegas wrapped up his round with a 21-foot chip for birdie.

"I was getting a little too concerned with my world ranking position and money list and this and that," Villegas said, "and I just got a little tight on the golf course. So I needed to put all those things aside and remember that I'm playing golf for a living, and there's a million people out there that would love to be in my shoes, and have fun with it."

Villegas shrugged off the missed putt in last week's semifinal match against Paul Casey: "I wish I would have made it, yes. But you know what? It ain't going to change me as a person."

Villegas tied Steve Jones (1997) and Harrison Frazier (2003) for the first-round tournament record.

Every had no bogeys on an open desert layout that was relatively quiet and calm with an estimated crowd of 69,475.

A turnout of up to 150,000 is expected Saturday.

Every, who had six consecutive birdies starting on No. 17, played two seasons with Villegas at UF.

"It's pretty neat," Every said. "Obviously we played a lot of golf together. It's good to see him playing well."

lpga: Lorena Ochoa birdied two of the final three holes for 4-under 68 and a share of the first-round lead on a hot, windy day at the HSBC Champions in Singapore. Other co-leaders: Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford and Hee Young Park. Kerr birdied five of the last six holes on Tanah Merah's Garden Course, Stanford had a bogey-free round, and Park overcame three bogeys with seven birdies. Brittany Lincicome of Seminole was in a four-way tie for 17th at 71.

NIKE STICKS BY WOODS: Nike will continue to support Tiger Woods, on an indefinite leave from golf to deal with personal issues. Nike brand president Charlie Denson said he does not want Woods playing until he sorts out his private life, which has been in the public spotlight since revelations of marital infidelity. "Under the circumstances, the more he deals with the issues and the better he deals with them, the better off he'll be when he does return," Denson said.

Villegas ties Phoenix Open record with first-round 62 02/25/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2010 9:48pm]
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