PGA Tour

McIlroy holds Wells Fargo lead

2013-05-03 07:11
Rory McIlroy (AFP)

North Carolina - World No 2 Rory McIlroy was one of seven players sharing the lead on five-under 67 on Thursday after the first round of the PGA Tour's Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.

The weather-damaged greens that raised concerns ahead of the tournament didn't prevent more than 50 players from breaking par as cool, overcast weather made for good scoring conditions despite some patchy putting surfaces.

"They're not the best greens that we've ever putted on, but they're certainly not the worst, either," said Northern Ireland's McIlroy, who claimed his breakthrough victory on the PGA Tour at this event in 2010 and finished runner-up to Rickie Fowler in a playoff last year.

"The ball still rolls pretty well on them," he said.

McIlroy powered up the leaderboard with four birdies in a row starting at the par-five fifth, where he rolled in a five-footer.

He sandwiched birdies at 10 and 11 between bogeys at the ninth and 12th, but joined the group sharing the clubhouse lead with a birdie at 18.

McIlroy was joined on 67 by Ryan Moore, Robert Garrigus, Nick Watney, Nate Smith, Derek Ernst and Daniel Summerhays.

Smith qualified on Monday to make his return to a PGA Tour event for the first time since 2011, when he played in 16 events.

In five starts on the Web.com tour this year his best finish is a tie for 29th, but he briefly gained sole possession of the lead with a birdie at 16 - jumping ahead of six players in the clubhouse on 67.

However, he gave the stroke back at the 17th to settle for a share of the lead.

Phil Mickelson, who finished second behind McIlroy in 2010, was among six players tied on 68, along with 2011 Quail Hollow winner Lucas Glover, Boo Weekley, Zach Johnson, Kevin Streelman and Jason Kokrak.

Australians Steven Bowditch and Rod Pampling, and Sweden's Robert Karlsson were among nine players on 69.

Glover said there were some unexpected outcomes on the greens, but nothing too damaging.

"I had some bounce in and I had some bounce out, but it evens out eventually," Glover said.

"All you can do on any green is try and hit it where you're looking," added Watney. "The greens may be a little bouncy, but most of the time if you hit a good putt it's going to go in."

McIlroy, playing for the first time since tying for 25th in the Masters, was due to tee off early Friday, when the course was likely to be receptive.

He said work with coach Michael Bannon had him feeling "a lot more comfortable" with his swing.

"I got into a couple of bad habits with my swing, and it just took me a little bit of time to get out of them," he said. "But now that I feel like I'm swinging it well... this is the sort of golf I expect to play."

Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the PGA Tour $6.7 million Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow (USA unless noted, par-72):

67 - Ryan Moore, Nick Watney, Robert Garrigus, Derek Ernst, Rory McIlroy (NIR), Daniel Summerhays, Nate Smith

68 - Boo Weekley, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Lucas Glover, Kevin Streelman, Jason Kokrak

69 - David Hearn (CAN), Robert Karlsson (SWE), George McNeill, Jordan Spieth, John Rollins, Russell Henley, Rod Pampling (AUS), Shawn Stefani, Steven Bowditch (AUS)

70 - John Senden (AUS), Webb Simpson, Andrew Svoboda, Trevor Immelman (RSA), Gary Woodland, James Driscoll, Bud Cauley, Patrick Reed, Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL), Lee Westwood (ENG), Rory Sabbatini (RSA), Vaughn Taylor, Brian Harman, Ross Fisher (ENG), Scott Gardiner (AUS)

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Europe name Ryder Cup picks

2014-09-02 13:38

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Vote

Which is your favourite event on the golfing calendar?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.