John Peterson started his rookie season on the PGA Tour about the time Tiger Woods started to experience back problems. Justin Thomas has a chance to go to No. 1 in the world, and Quail Hollow is where he won the PGA Championship last August.
DeChambeau is quietly putting together an impressive season, with three top-5 finishes in his last six tournaments.
On a congested leaderboard, Peter Malnati, Tyrrell Hatton, Johnson Wagner, Keith Mitchell and Kyle Stanley are at four under in a tie for second. He finished fifth at the RBC Heritage for his third Top 10 finish in his last five events.
Kiwi Danny Lee will need a good second round to make the cut after a four-over 75. He was in the hunt on the front nine of the final round at the Honda Classic and came within one shot of a playoff at the Valspar Championship. "What I was feeling and what I was sensing just didn't match up". He was 2-under at the Masters through the first round a few weeks ago, but struggled to a second round 79, barely making the cut. He took three putts on the fourth and 16th and was exasperated after missing out on a chance to birdie the hard closing 18th hole, rolling a putt just past the cup. Peterson backed that up with an eagle at the following hole, as well, holing out from 103 yards to earn a big bird with an unconventional route.
After a one-week dip into team play, the PGA Tour switches back to the trusty 72-hole stroke play format for this week's Wells Fargo Championship.
"I've played it well. It fits my eye and I feel like I can play my game around here". He too would also get to 3 under but unlike Phil, he would manage the front side better as he shot a 3 under 68.
Woods holds the distinction as the only player to win a major and a PGA Tour event on the same course in the same year twice - Pebble Beach in 2000 and Torrey Pines in 2008.More news: Russian Su-30SM fighter plane crashes into Mediterranean Sea off Syrian coast
Seven players, including former world number one Jason Day and England s Paul Casey, were a shot back after carding two-under-par 69s.
There's something about Quail Hollow that brings out the best in Justin Thomas. "I drove it great on the weekend, but I kept hitting the ball above the hole or in the wrong spot", he said.
McIlroy, teeing off on the back nine, made a flawless start on his first hole, the 592-yard par-five 10th, chipping his third shot to two feet and tapping in for birdie.
"He hit it well, putted well, " Woods said. He felt the grass on the greens had grown since earlier.
The first groups off Tees 1 and 10 begin their rounds at 7 am EST.
Patrick Reed is fresh off a Masters win, sure, but he also finished tied for second at Quail Hollow a year ago and has tallied four consecutive Top-10's overall. I didn't know if I would ever be able play golf again, let alone be out here on tour. "Augusta was more wide open than pretty much any event I've played in so far this year".