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November 7 2013

5:55 PM

McNeill in front when horn sounds

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McNeill had eight birdies through 16 holes when the horn sounded.

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- Briny Baird and Brian Gay have the clubhouse lead at The McGladrey Classic after each shot 7-under 63 Thursday at Sea Island Golf Club.

How long it lasts might be another story.

George McNeill was 8 under through 16 holes when the horn sounded for darkness.

"I actually couldn't really read the putt I had on 7; I just knew what it was going to do," McNeill said. "I just hit it where I had a pretty good idea what it was doing. Fortunately, I had about a 6‑footer and I made it for birdie."

When he returns Friday morning, he'll have a 20-footer for birdie on the par-4 eighth. Play will resume at 7 a.m. ET.

McNeill admittedly struggles on the PGA TOUR's West Coast swing and is looking to get a jump on the season in the new 2013-14 wrap-around schedule.

"If I can play well to start the year with these fall events, it can give me a little jump start to having a decent year," the 38-year-old two-time TOUR winner said.

Baird, meanwhile, is just hoping he can finally win for the first time in what is his 365th career start.

His play in the first round was as flawless as the weather with seven birdies and no bogeys.

Gay was even better with eight birdies on a windless day, though he had one bogey.

Four others, including Webb Simpson, are in with 65 and tied for fourth.

Robert Garrigus is also 5 under, but he was through just 13 holes.

There were 50 players who didn't finish the opening round.

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