Rory McIlroy shares Wells Fargo lead at Quail Hollow

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Wells Fargo Championship - first-round leaderboard (US unless stated)

R McIlroy (NI), R Moore, N Watney, R Garrigus, D Ernst, D Summerhays, N Smith
B Weekley, P Mickelson, Z Johnson, L Glover, K Streelman, J Kokrak
Selected: -2:
L Westwood (Eng), R Fisher (Eng)
D Lynn (Eng)
S Garcia (Spa), B Davis (Eng), M Laird (Sco)
Angel Cabrera (Arg)
P Harrington (Ire)

Rory McIlroy fired a five-under 67 to share the first-round lead in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.

McIlroy, in his first event since tying for 25th at the Masters, birdied the 18th to finish in a seven-way tie.

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

Phil Mickelson finished in a group one stroke adrift, with England's Lee Westwood at two under. Padraig Harrington ran up an eight-over 80.

It was the first time this year that McIlroy has been on top of the leaderboard after any round, and the first time he broke par in the opening round.

"Now that I feel like I'm swinging it well, this is the sort of golf I expect to play,'' said the Northern Irishman.

"It's big strides because my game wasn't where it should have been at all at the start of the year. (I) got into a couple of bad habits on my swing, and it just took me a little bit of time to get out of them."

Harrington was using a belly putter for the first time, 10 months after publicly saying he hoped they would soon be banned.

But the Irishman, who won three majors in 13 months in 2007 and 2008, struggled off the tee and went out in 42 with six bogeys.

Three further dropped shots and a solitary birdie on the 15th followed, but he suggested he might stick with the long putter until the proposed ban on anchored strokes comes into effect in 2016.

"The R&A and USGA support the rules of golf and (anchoring) is well within the rules," said Harrington.

"I think (anchoring) is bad for the game of golf. But if something's going to help me for the next three-and-a-half years I'm going to use it.

"For the majority, I believe anchoring shouldn't be there."

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