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First-round advantage is nothing new to Charlie Wi

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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 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.

For Wi, making his 184th career start, 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 him to get his first win, and that’s would it 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 Tournament.

LPGA TOUR: In Guadalajara, Mexico, Michelle Wie shot 6-under-par 66 for a share of the first-round lead in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational with Angela Stanford and Candie Kung.

EUROPEAN TOUR: In Singapore, Thomas Bjorn shot 5-under-par 66 to take the lead at the Singapore Open after rain interrupted the first round.

He made six birdies to take a one-stroke lead over Simon Khan, Chinnarat Phadungsil and Pablo Martin.

Top-ranked Rory McIlroy was at even par after eight holes when play was halted for the day due to rain and the threat of lightning.

Half the field —78 golfers — was still on the course when play was stopped. They’ll resume Friday morning.

McIlroy had girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki by his side on the course. He is trying to match Luke Donald’s 2011 feat of capturing both European and U.S. PGA Tour money titles in the same season.

LOCAL INTEREST

CHARLES HOWELL

Augusta native

Score/Shots back 68/4

BRIAN GAY

Louisville, Ga.*

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VAUGHN TAYLOR

Evans resident

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BLAKE ADAMS

Swainsboro, Ga.

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SCOTT BROWN

North Augusta resident

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WILL CLAXTON

Swainsboro, Ga.*

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KEVIN KISNER

Aiken native

Score/Shots back 75/11

PATRICK REED

Augusta resident

Score/Shots back 76/12

* former resident


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