Rory McIlroy, the defending champion and two-time winner of the vent, opened the Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday with a one-over par 73, six shots behind leaders Steve Wheatcroft and Andrew Loupe.
McIlroy birdied four holes in a six-hole stretch on the back nine at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., to lessen the sting from an opening nine of 40.
“I was sort of still in range mode on the front nine there,” said McIlroy, who . “I didn’t really have my scoring head on. I was thinking about my golf swing and just trying to make good swings at it and I sort of got caught up in that a little bit.”
McIlroy was playing with Rickie Fowler, who shot a one-under par 71 in a tournament that stands as a tuneup for his title defense in the Players Championship next week.
Anirban Lahiri of India, meanwhile, posted a 66 and is tied for third, a shot behind the leaders, while Bryson DeChambeau shot a three-over par 75 in this his third tournament as a professional.