Dawie van der Walt dialed up a 5-under-par 35-32=67 in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship, currently two shots off the co-leaders, Steve Wheatcroft and Andrew Loupe.
The South African opened his week by sticking his 123-yard approach shot to 10 inches for a tap-in birdie at the par-4 first. He added three more birdies and two bogeys before firing in his longest putt of the round at the par-4 11th. It came from 17'11", good for his fifth birdie of the round. He would add two more before round's end. He walked off the course gaining 2.148 (of 5.587 total) strokes with his putter. This was really a balanced attack from the big South African, and he's in great position to bust out of his current three-event missed cut slump.
Phil Mickelson won the Thursday battle with Quail Hollow Club, signing for a 3-under-par 36-33=69 to kick off his week at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Lefty started slow, finding himself short-sided in a greenside bunker at the par-3 second hole, swallowing an early bogey. In predictable fashion, he circled birdies at both of the par 5s before finding tree trouble at the par-4 ninth. On that ninth hole, he found himself in the pine straw and elected to go with driver and nearly hit a perfect shot. Instead, his recovery attempt pelted a tree and he was forced to square his second bogey of the round. Coming in, he added two more birdies on the par 5s (playing the par 5s at 4-under on the day) and also splashed in a 24'9" birdie bomb on the par-4 14th hole. This goes in the books as Mickelson's 20th sub-70 round at Quail Hollow, with tomorrow being his 50 round here. Despite the remarkable course history, he is still searching for his first victory at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Kevin Chappell kicked off his week at the Wells Fargo Championship with a 5-under-par 34-33=67 to sit just two strokes off the co-leaders through one round of play.
Chappell arrived in fantastic form, and he kept the momentum rolling today with 13 greens hit and three putts drained from outside 12 feet. The longest was a 23'11" birdie bomb on the par-4 16th hole. The plethora of mid-to-long range conversions offset his 4'5" birdie miss at the par-4 first, walking off the course with 2.122 strokes gained putting. Chappell has finished top 10 in three of his last four starts entering the week, and he's off to the races, yet again.
Daniel Berger bombarded Quail Hollow Club in the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship, signing a 4-under-par 33-35=68, just three strokes off the co-leaders.
The Florida State product played great, tee-to-green. He striped nine (of 14) fairways and landed 13 greens in regulation. He splashed in an 18'1" birdie on the par-4 third and a 12'3" birdie on the par-4 ninth. Those highlighted his day on the green, but a missed 3'6" birdie attempt at the par-4 first hole was the lowlight, for sure. Berger arrived in great form, posting four straight top 20s in stroke-play events, and he's showing no signs of slowing down this week.
Steve Wheatcroft walked all over Quail Hollow Club on the way toward a 7-under-par 32-33=65 to grab a piece of the early lead at this week's Wells Fargo Championship.
Wheatcroft traded an opening birdie with a bogey at the par-3 second hole. The latter came after a missed 4'8" par-saving attempt. At that point, you may not have predicted a 7-under round was in the cards. Wheatcroft had different plans, as he holed out from 43 yards at the par-5 fifth hole to circle his first eagle of the round. His second would come five holes later as he landed his approach shot to six feet, for a relatively easy eagle roll. Wheatcroft rinsed his approach shot on the par-4 14th hole, swallowing his second bogey of the round. He bounced back with a birdie at the next hole and rolled in a 19'4" putt from the fringe on the par-3 17th hole, keeping his stake of the lead intact. Last week's T36 at the Zurich Classic was his best result of the season and his most recent top 30 came at last year's Quicken Loans National where he finished T11 (19 tournaments ago).
Andrew Loupe torched Quail Hollow Club with a bogey-free, 7-under-par 31-34=65 to grab a share of the first-round lead at this week's Wells Fargo Championship.
The LSU product is known for his distance, but it was his short game that was clicking on all cylinders today. Loupe opened with a 12'5" birdie splash on the par-4 first hole and proceeded to roll in six more putts from outside five feet before making the turn. His last two birdie putts on the front nine totaled 63'3" (par-5 seventh and par-4 ninth holes). The flat stick wasn't done working yet, as he added two more birdie rolls coming in, both from outside 13 feet. Loupe walked off the course having gained 3.302 strokes with the putter and now he'll sleep on the co-lead with one of his playing partners, Steve Wheatcroft.
Paul Casey constructed a 2-under-par 35-35=70 during the opening round of this week's Wells Fargo Championship.
The Englishman gained nearly three shots on the rest of the a.m. wave (a.m. scoring average: 72.79) and did most of that damage tee-to-green. Casey split eight (of 14) fairways and landed 12 greens in regulation, both figures exceeding the field average. His longest putt came in the form of an 11'6" par-saver at the par-5 fifth hole. The Englishman walked off the course just four strokes off the early lead, and has to feel great about his position considering his flat stick has yet to heat up.
Tim Wilkinson orchestrated a 4-under-par 34-34=68 during the first round of this week's Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Kiwi split just five (of 14) fairways and landed just seven greens in regulation on the day. His short game made up for his lack of ball-striking today, as he swallowed just one bogey to go along with a five-pack of birdies. Most notable were 34'3" and 39'3" birdie bombs on the par-4 16th and par-4 18th holes, respectively. Wilkinson will need to maintain his short-game magic if he wants to remain in contention as the week progresses.