WILLIAMSBURG, JULY 5 -- Mark O'Meara beat the heat and his midseason blues with a seven-under-par 64, and shared the first-round lead with late-finishing Greg Hickman after today's opening round of the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic.

"I certainly can't say that my confidence was riding very high when I teed off today," said O'Meara, who missed the cut in two of his last three events and tied for 66th in the other.

He had nine birdies and two bogeys on Kingsmill Golf Club's steamy layout along the James River. Then Hickman, a rookie playing in the next-to-last group, put together seven birdies, two bogeys and an eagle to tie him.

Lanny Wadkins and Brian Claar shot 65s. Greg Norman, who leads the PGA money list with $832,709, shot 66, as did Larry Mize, Larry Rinker, Donnie Hammond, Russ Cochran and Jim Gallagher Jr.

Among those at 67 were Curtis Strange, who lives at Kingsmill, and Hal Sutton, who aced the 177-yard 17th hole.

"The greens look like they pumped a lot of water into them last night, and it becomes just like a birdie shootout," Norman said. "It's a putting competition is all it is."

O'Meara, Claar, Rinker and Norman were among those who began play in the morning before the heat of the day.

"I was very pleased to get off early today," O'Meara said after his round. "You really noticed the heat start kicking in after about seven or eight holes. Then the whole back side it was really sweltering."

Claar said the weather reminded him of his home in Tampa.

I'm used to this," said Claar, the PGA Tour's top rookie in 1986 who is 84th on this year's money list.

O'Meara, who finished third in the season-opening Tournament of Champions and got career victory No. 5 at Pebble Beach four weeks later, said he's unsure why he starts strong every year and tails off toward the middle of the season.

"Mentally I feel like maybe I play too much in the beginning of the year," he said. "Maybe I need to back off."