Charlotte - US Open champion Rory McIlroy, celebrating his 23rd birthday on Friday, fired five birdies in a four-under par 68 at the US PGA Tour Wells Fargo Championship.
He was six off the pace going into the weekend at Quail Hollow, where he won his first US tour title in 2010.
That year he put his birthday celebration off until the Monday after his triumph.
This year, McIlroy said, he doesn't have a lot planned.
"I don't have much going on," McIlroy said. "Probably just go out for a nice dinner and take it easy and get ready for tomorrow."
When McIlroy won here two years ago, it was with a weekend surge after he made the cut right on the number.
"So being only six back should be easy," he joked. "But no, the guys at the top of the leaderboard are obviously playing well. I'll go out and get off to a good start tomorrow and post a good one to give myself a chance going into Sunday."
Despite his youth, Northern Ireland's McIlroy has already built an impressive resume. He has held golf's world number one ranking and next month in San Francisco will defend the US Open title he won convincingly at Congressional last year.