McGladrey Classic: McNeill shines in the darkness

George McNeill McGladrey Classic Golf

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George McNeill will resume his first round at the McGladrey Classic with a one-shot lead over the rest of the field after reaching eight-under par when bad light halted play on Thursday.

The 38-year-old began at the 10th hole and carded eight birdies, including five in a row from the 15th, in his first 16 holes.

The Florida resident will return to Sea Island early on Friday on eight under to complete his opening round and has a putt for a birdie on the eighth hole, his 17th, to extend his lead.

The clubhouse lead is shared by two Americans, with Briny Baird and Brian Gay both carding 63s to sit on seven under, while five players, including Webb Simpson and Robert Garrigus share fourth place two shots behind.

Four-under was a popular score with 10 players currently on that mark, but Carl Pettersson, Charley Hoffman and John Rollins still have holes to complete before beginning their second round.

Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke was steady if unspectacular on his return to the PGA Tour and signed for a 69 and, at one-under par, will probably have to better that score on Friday to make the cut.

Brian Davis is flying the flag for England but the 39-year-old faces a battle to make the weekend after a disappointing 71 on the Georgia coast.

Baird has not recorded a win in his previous 364 appearances on the PGA Tour but has put himself in an excellent position to challenge for the title.

And the 41-year-old admitted that keeping out of trouble was the key to his stellar opening.

“If there’s such thing as an easy 63, today was,” he told the PGA Tour website. “I kept the ball in play. I kept it in front of me.”

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