Golf

Haas seizes Wells Fargo lead

2011-05-05 07:04
Bill Haas (AP)
Charlotte - Bill Haas fired a record-equalling eight-under par 64 on Thursday to seize a two-shot lead after the first round of the USPGA Wells Fargo Championship.

Haas' eight birdies included all four of the par-fives as he equalled the lowest opening round ever shot in the event.

"I've got good feelings around this place," Haas said.

Haas was two strokes in front of David Toms and Jonathan Byrd, who set an early target in chilly early morning conditions.

Haas opened his round with a birdie at the par-five 10th, where he hit a three-wood onto the green and two-putted.

He added three more birdies before he had to make a 10-footer to save par at 18.

Even before Thursday's sparkling effort, Haas held a special affection for Quail Hollow, which he played as a youngster with his father, Jay Haas, a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour.

"My dad would say, 'Let's go play Quail tomorrow.' It was a bigger deal than just playing at home," Haas said.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy also has plenty of good memories of Quail Hollow, but he struggled to a 75 that included five bogeys and two birdies.

"The story of the day for me is I really didn't hit it very well, which is unlike me," said McIlroy, who is playing in the US for the first time since his final-round collapse at the Masters last month. "It'd be the strength of my game and today I just wasn't striking it well. My timing was off just a little bit."

Pat Perez and Lucas Glover shared fourth on 67. They were followed by a group of five players on 68 that included Fiji's Vijay Singh, Aussie Stuart Appleby and rising US star Rickie Fowler.

Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington were in a group on 69.

"I hadn't played in a few weeks, and to shoot under par was a good start," said Mickelson, who twice found the water but managed to save par each time. "It could have been a lot better, could have been a lot worse. I'll certainly take it."

Byrd and Toms had to contend with morning cold that made the course play longer than usual.

Toms, not a long hitter, was especially pleased with his round.

"It was cold this morning, and we were all out there with our jackets and sweaters on and playing these long par fours," he said. "If I can shoot three-under on the front nine, as long as it played, I'll take that any day."

Leading first-round results here on Thursday from the $6.5 million-dollar UPSGA Wells Fargo Championship (USA unless noted, par-72)

64 - Bill Haas (USA)

66 - Jonathan Byrd, David Toms

67 - Lucas Glover, Pat Perez

68 - Stuart Appleby (AUS), Carl Pettersson (SWE), Rickie Fowler, Vijay Singh (FIJ), Jim Herman

69 - Brandt Jobe, Padraig Harrington (IRL), Sergio Garcia (ESP), Ryan Moore, Kevin Na, Ryuji Imada (JPN), Phil Mickelson, Chez Reavie, Billy Mayfair, Josh Teater, Bobby Gates

...

70 - Martin Kaymer (GER), Brian Davis (GBR), Mathew Goggin (AUS), Matt Jones (AUS), Fabian Gomez (ARG)

71 - Alex Cejka (GER), Andres Romero (ARG), Jarrod Lyle (AUS), Justin Rose (GBR), Steven Bowditch (AUS)

72 - Rory Sabbatini (RSA), Arjun Atwal (IND), Edoardo Molinari (ITA), Robert Allenby (AUS)

73 - Fredrik Jacobson (SWE), Trevor Immelman (RSA), Marc Leishman (AUS), Bi-o Kim (KOR)

74 - John Senden (AUS), Greg Chalmers (AUS), Richard S. Johnson (SWE)

75 - Rory McIlroy (NIR), Robert Karlsson (SWE), Jhonattan Vegas (VEN), Camilo Villegas (COL), Henrik Stenson (SWE), Brendon de Jonge (ZIM), Sunghoon Kang (KOR)

78 - Martin Laird (GBR), Paul Casey (GBR)

79 - David Hearn (CAN)


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