BMW Championship leaderboard: Brandt Snedeker makes 7 straight birdies; Tiger Woods under par early

Sam Greenwood

The defending FedExCup champion is making an early run at Conway Farms, while Tiger Woods begins his week with a bogey-free opening nine.

The full 70-man field is now out on the course at the BMW Championship, and much like the first two FedExCup events, there are plenty of low scores available at Conway Farms. Brandt Snedeker has stormed to the lead after canning seven straight birdies as he made the turn in his opening round. At 7-under, the defending FedExCup champ is two shots clear of the chasers early on Thursday. Snedeker has been one of the best players in the world over the past two seasons, and if his putter continues to roll like it has so far Thursday, he'll be a favorite to repeat and win that $10 million windfall in Atlanta.

Tiger Woods has also completed his first nine this week. The No. 1 player in the world hasn't quite hit a streak like Snedeker, but he is under par after a bogey-free outward nine. Woods said earlier this week that the new Conway Farms layout, which he had never played, was "confined" -- not exactly a glowing review. But he's managed to avoid trouble, starting his tournament with an easy birdie on No. 10 and adding another red number at the par-3 17th hole. It's an encouraging start for Tiger, who was coming off the ugly 65th place finish in Boston on Labor Day.

The man who knocked Woods from the No. 1 spot in the FedExCup standings, Henrik Stenson, is one of the handful of players who are over par. Stenson is playing alongside Woods during the first two rounds, and an early double bogey quickly pushed him toward the bottom of the 70-man leaderboard. Woods is just 14 points behind Stenson, so it won't take much for Tiger to get back into the No. 1 spot in the standings this week.

Two players joining Stenson near the bottom are Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, who are both 1-over. Mickelson is already in next week's field at the TOUR Championship, but last year's BMW winner, young Rory, starts the week outside the top 30 at No. 41. He'll need to make a charge and start rolling in some birdies if he wants to play on.

Here's a current snapshot of the early leaderboard on Thursday in Chicago:

Place Player Score Thru
1 Brandt Snedeker -7 10*
2 Zach Johnson -5 11
T3 John Merrick -4 12
T3 Roberto Castro -4 11
T3 Charl Schwartzel -4 10*
T6 Brian Gay -3 11*
T6 Adam Scott -3 9*
T6 Jordan Spieth -3 5
T9 Graeme McDowell -2 11*
T9 Steve Stricker -2 10*
T9 Tiger Woods -2 9*
T9 Hunter Mahan -2 5*
T18 Justin Rose -1 10*
T18 Jim Furyk -1 9
T18 Keegan Bradley -1 5
T30 Bubba Watson E 7*
T30 Dustin Johnson E 5*
T30 Sergio Garcia E 6*
T30 Matt Kuchar E 5
T30 Luke Donald E 4*
T49 Henrik Stenson 1 9*
T49 Rory McIlroy 1 7*
T49 Phil Mickelson 1 5
T61 Webb Simpson 2 10
T65 Lee Westwood 4 10*

More from SB Nation Golf:

Tiger's swing coach turns down Luke Donald

New No. 1 Stenson paired with Woods, Adam Scott at BMW

One year later, winless Rory on FedExCup bubble at BMW

Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee crushes Tiger Woods again

Team USA rolls to take back Walker Cup

Captain's picks complete 12-man rosters for October's Presidents Cup | Spieth caps incredible rookie year with nod from Couples

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