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Villegas eagles his way to Buick lead

  • Story Highlights
  • Camilo Villegas three shots clear after first round of Buick Invitational
  • Colombian cards an eagle and eight birdies on North Course at Torrey Pines
  • Davis Love III and Aaron Baddeley nearest challengers to Colombian star
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(CNN) -- Colombia's Camilo Villegas chipped in twice on his way to a nine-under-par 63 to take a three-shot lead after the first round of the Buick Invitational in California.

Villegas raises a smile after a birdie on the 17th at Torrey Pines on the first day.

Villegas raises a smile after a birdie on the 17th at Torrey Pines on the first day.

Villegas, who finished the 2008 season with two victories, including the Tour Championship, was at his flamboyant best, chipping in at the par-4 second for an eagle.

The 27-year-old followed up with eight birdies against a solitary bogey on the undulating North Course at Torrey Pines to leave him with a big advantage over Davis Love III and Australian Aaron Baddeley.

Baddeley's compatriot Stuart Appleby, Jeff Overton and Robert Garrigus were at four under.

Three-time Buick champion Phil Mickelson showed better form after his missed cut last week to card a two-under 70 on the tougher South Course, one of the two layouts being used for the fifth event of the PGA Tour season.

Defending champion Tiger Woods is still sidelined as the world of golf awaits his return after knee surgery. Woods also won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines last June before bringing his season to a premature end.

Ireland's Padrag Harrington, winner of the final two majors of the season in Woods' absence, began his PGA Tour campaign with a one-under 71.

Harrington opened 2009 with a fifth place finish at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship before having two non-malignant melanomas removed from near his right eye less than two weeks ago.

He reached the turn at three-under, but needed a birdie on his final hole to move back into red figures.

Fellow European Ryder Cup star Luke Donald of England continued his comeback after an injury layoff with a 70 on the South layout.

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