McIlroy lies tied second, Theegala 49th in Wells Fargo Champs

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Charlotte, NC (USA), May 10 (PTI) Rory McIlroy was off to a good start in search of a record fourth Wells Fargo Championship title. His 4-under 67 left him three shots behind leader Xander Schauffele (64).


Collin Morikawa and Alex Noren also shot 67, and Justin Thomas topped the group at 68.

Indian-Americans Sahith Theegala (73) and Akshay Bhatia (74) were T-49 and T-60, respectively, in the USD 20 million Signature event that does not have a cut.

Korean star Sungjae Im shot a solid 3-under 68 for tied fifth place as he bounced back from illness last week. The two-time PGA TOUR winner hit five birdies against two bogeys at Quail Hollow Club in the sixth Signature event of the season.


He trails first-round leader Xander Schauffele, who fired a fine 64, which included a touch of good fortune for a three-stroke lead over Collin Morikawa, Alex Noren and Rory McIlroy.

This course here is one of McIlroy's favourites. In 2010, McIlroy closed with a 62 that included six straight 3s on his card to win his first PGA TOUR title two days before he turned 21.

He followed that with a seven-shot victory in 2015, shattering the tournament record at 21-under 267 after a course-record 61 in the third round. He added his third title in 2021.


The only other player to win the Wells Fargo Championship multiple times is Homa, the 2019 and 2022 champion. He overcame a rough start, bogeying two of his first three holes to shoot 69.

Korean duo Si Woo Kim and Byeong Hun An carded matching 70s, while Tom Kim signed for a 73.

Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama withdrew before starting his round with a back injury.


The 26-year-old Im was delighted to be back in action here, where he finished tied-eighth last season and also featured for the International Team in the 2022 Presidents Cup at the highly-rated golf course.

He had to skip last week’s THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson in Dallas after falling ill upon returning from Korea following a successful title defence of a Korean PGA Tour tournament.

Starting his day from the 10th tee, Schauffele, a seven-time PGA TOUR winner, hit an eagle and birdie over his last three holes on the seventh and ninth holes to open a three-shot lead, the largest 18-hole lead in the tournament history.


He got lucky on the seventh hole after playing partner Wyndham Clark found his ball within the allotted three minutes to search for a ball following an errant drive and then was subsequently able to take a drop due to a Shotlink tower.

After taking the lead at 6-under with an eagle on the seventh, Schauffele sent his tee shot on No. 8 about 10 yards into some heavy woods, and the ball came to rest near a metal fence line.

He got relief from the rules official and dropped outside of the woods because of a temporary immovable object.

Schauffele managed to chip onto the green from the edge of the words and two-putt for par.

McIlroy was within two shots of Schauffele, but his fairway wood out of the bunker on the par-5 15th caught sand, and the ball squirted off to the right about 50 yards away. That led to a bogey, one of two in his final four holes. PTI Corr AYG KHS