Wallace, Villegas Energy by Wind for the portion of RSM Basic lead

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: PGA: US Open – Second Round

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(Reuters) – Briton Matt Wallace and Colombian Camilo Villegas had a one-shot lead after battling windy conditions in Thursday’s RSM Classic first round.

Wallace started strong with five birdies and a bogey on the top nine on the Seaside Course in Sea Island, Georgia, and made a 30-foot putt for par on the 18th, carding six under par 64.

“My putting wasn’t where it should be, and it was the area I had to work on the most,” said Wallace, who opted for a line of sight putter this week after tinkering with his short game.

Four-time PGA Tour winner Villegas, who started on the last nine, joined Wallace at the top of the rankings with a birdie on his final hole, the ninth par 4. He had a total of six birdies in the clean round.

Villegas took a break from competition after his 22-month-old daughter Mia, who battled brain and spinal tumors, passed away in July.

After their deaths, many players wore tiny rainbow pins on their hats after Villegas said his daughter loved rainbows.

On Thursday, the 38-year-old thought of Mia as he prepared for the game.

“When I got out on the track and saw a rainbow, hey, listen up, here it is. She loved colors and rainbows and my wife was all about it. And it was cool,” said Villegas. “It was a nice start to the day.”

Wallace and Villegas face an uphill battle for the lead in the second round on Friday, with eight players finishing third.

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