Wells Fargo Championship 2013
Rory McIlroy amongst first round leaders
May 3, 2013
Following an impressive performance yesterday at Quail Hollow, Rory McIlroy shares the lead with six other players at the Wells Fargo Championship. McIlroy finished with an eight-foot birdie for a 5-under par 67, after running off six birdies in a seven-hole stretch around the turn.
McIlroy, who is the only player ranked in the world's top ten to attend the Wells Fargo Championship this year, broke par in the opening round for the first time. "Now that I feel I'm swinging it well, this is the sort of golf I expect to play," he said.
Sharing the lead with McIlroy are Ryan Moore, Nick Watney, Robert Garrigus and first time PGA Tour player Derek Ernst, who all shot 67 yesterday morning. In the afternoon, Monday qualifier Nate Smith and Daniel Summerhays also moved into the top spot with 67.
McIlroy is the favourite to win the Wells Fargo this year, with odds standing at 8-1. Frequent Quail Hollow player Webb Simpson is ranked second, with odds of 14-1.
Players have faced difficult greens conditions at Quail Hallow this year. Due to unusually cold and wet weather, greens on Nos. 8 and 10 have been completely re-sodded twice with 4 feet wide, 60 feet long strips of grass a week ago. Other putting surfaces were also in bad shape, with some patches of brown lacking any grass.
Nine players have withdrawn from the Wells Fargo Championship so far, including previous champions David Toms and Vijay Singh. Although not all of the withdrawals were due to the condition of the course, with Ian Poulter blaming personal reasons for his absence, this has raised concerns.
"It's unfortunate. There was a lot of effort to rectify the situation," said tournament director, Kym Hougham. "A number of factors contributed, Mother Nature being the biggest, but you know our standard. They deserve good greens, and we didn't produce good greens. And we'll make sure that never happens again."
Other players were less disappointed with the course conditions, with Boo Weekley saying: "It was fine. First off, they were pretty smooth. It ain't 100 per cent, but I mean they're good enough to play golf on."
Defending champion Rickie Fowler also appeared optimistic on Wednesday, saying: "You can't lie about it - the greens are shaky, but I feel like come tournament time... you're still going to be able to make putts. There is still a hole out there."
Fowler was proved right yesterday, as despite the complaints about the greens they were still soft enough that setting up the position off the tee was crucial in making birdie chances. "They're not the best greens we've ever putted on, but they're certainly not the worst, either," said McIlroy. "The ball still rolls pretty well on them. As long as you give yourself chances for birdies, that's all you can ask."
Wells Fargo Championship Scores