McNeill moves ahead at suspended McGladrey Classic

Sea Island, GA ( - George McNeill birdied eight of his first 16 holes Thursday to grab the lead at 8-under before the opening round of the McGladrey Classic was suspended due to darkness.

Brian Gay and Briny Baird carded matching 7-under-par 63s to share the clubhouse lead.

Play was delayed nearly two hours due to morning fog at Sea Island Resort. Gay, who played the WGC - HSBC Champions in China last week, spent the delay napping in a locker room chair. He teed off after the break and recorded eight birdies against a single bogey to grab a share of the clubhouse advantage.

"I felt pretty good when I teed off," Gay said. "I felt like I had more energy."

Baird, seeking his first win in his 365th PGA Tour start, went bogey-free at the Seaside Course in temperate conditions. The 41-year-old missed all of the 2013 season after undergoing surgery on both shoulders.

"I do not feel pain in either shoulder," he said. "It's a good feeling."

With Gay and Baird in the clubhouse at 7-under, McNeill surged in front, going bogey-free through 16 holes.

McNeill, a two-time PGA Tour winner, began on the 10th tee and birdied the 11th before highlighting his incomplete round with five straight birdies from the 15th. He added another birdie at the fourth, then reached 8-under with a birdie at the par-5 seventh shortly before the horn sounded at 5:33 p.m. ET. When he returns to the course Friday morning, he'll have a 20-footer for birdie at No. 8.

"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," McNeill said.

Webb Simpson, who already won this season at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, shot 5-under-par 65 to grab a share of fourth place. Kevin Kisner, Seung-Yul Noh and Kevin Chappell also carded 65s, while Robert Garrigus was 5-under through 13 holes when play was suspended.

The first round will resume at 7 a.m. ET.

NOTES: Play was delayed 1 hour, 37 minutes. There were 50 players who didn't finish the opening round ... McNeill's two PGA Tour wins came at the 2007 Open and the 2012 Puerto Rico Open ... Baird has finished second five times in his career. He has won more money (almost $13 million) than any other active player without a win ... Gay's most recent PGA Tour win came at the Humana Challenge in January ... Defending champion Tommy Gainey is 2-under through 15 holes.