Donald records a 64 for BMW lead

Posted May 26, 2011, at 11:36 p.m.

VIRGINIA WATER, England — Luke Donald shot a 7-under 64 on Thursday to take the lead in the suspended first round of the BMW PGA Championship, leaving him eight strokes ahead of No. 1 Lee Westwood in their battle for the top spot in the world ranking.

Donald mastered the wet and windy conditions on Wentworth’s West Course to match his lowest European Tour round. He had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch and finished with eight birdies and a bogey. The second-ranked Englishman needs to outperform Westwood to take the top spot.

Matteo Manassero, the Italian star who became the youngest winner on the European Tour at 17 years, 188 days last October, shot a 66 to tie for second with Sweden’s Johan Edfors.

Play was interrupted for 36 minutes because of lightning and the round was suspended because of fading light with five groups still on the course. Sweden’s Oscar Floren was 4 under with four holes to play.

Ian Poulter, coming off a victory over Donald on Sunday in the World Match Play Championship, and fellow Englishman Ross McGowan were four strokes back at 68 along with Bradley Dredge and Jose Manuel Lara.

Overton’s 64 tops at Nelson

IRVING, Texas — Jeff Overton shot a bogey-free 6-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Ryan Palmer after the first round of the Byron Nelson Championship.

A year after tying for second at TPC Four Seasons, Overton began his back nine with four birdies in a seven-hole stretch. He had his best score in 15 career rounds at the Nelson, even after his 22-foot birdie attempt on the closing hole lipped out.

Sergio Garcia, who withdrew from a British Open qualifier earlier this week and didn’t even play a practice round because of an infected fingernail on his left hand, was two strokes back at 66 along with Dustin Johnson, Jeff Quinney, Scott Piercy, Will Strickler, Chris Riley, Josh Teater, Joe Ogilvie and Keegan Bradley.

Murota leads Senior PGA

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Japan’s Kiyoshi Murota shot a 6-under 66 to overshadow stars such as Mark O’Meara and Tom Watson and grab the first-round lead in the weather-plagued Senior PGA Championship.

After a 90-minute delay at the start of the round and a later suspension of play that lasted more than 3 hours, half the field was still on the course when darkness fell. Those 78 players will hit Valhalla Golf Club early Friday to complete the first round.

Murota had a one-shot lead over alternate Trevor Dodds, with former Masters and British Open winner O’Meara another stroke back after a 68. Watson, an eight-time major champion, shot a 70.

Murota’s 66 was built around a short game that consistently helped him avoid trouble. He had four sand saves and 11 one-putt greens without a bogey.

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