ST. LOUIS (AP) — Camilo Villegas and Steve Stricker were excited to be playing golf Friday for different reasons, and it showed during a soggy start to the BMW Championship.

Villegas, coming off a tie for third last week that allowed him to advance in the PGA Tour Playoffs, continued his good form with eight birdies on long, soft Bellerive Country Club for a 5-under 65 that gave him a one-shot lead.

The 26-year-old Colombian believes winning is a process, and it appears to be accelerating with each round.

"Sometimes you really want to be on the golf course and it's going great, and sometimes it's a grind," Villegas said. "You've got to be ready for both. I'm excited right now. I feel really good about by golf."

Stricker made a 35-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 4-under 66, tied with Kenny Perry, Tim Herron, Stuart Appleby and Andres Romero.

Stricker's stomach has been churning the last month during what felt like an audition for the Ryder Cup. Stricker, who was bumped out of automatic qualifying at the PGA Championship, began sweating over every poor shot, every missed putt, and he only exhaled Monday night when U.S. captain Paul Azinger told him he was being selected.