Handful under par early on at Wells Fargo Championship

First Round Update – PGA Tour – Wells Fargo Championship – Quail Hollow Club – Charlotte, North Carolina –

Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Jim Furyk  and Phil Mickelson provide the firepower this week as the PGA Tour returns to action this week at the Quail Hollow Club for the Wells Fargo Championship.

The full-field tournament served as a final tune-up for the THE PLAYERS Championship last year. This year it follows the flagship event and leads into the U.S. Open in a month.

Robert Streb leads the way at the moment at 5-under through 12 holes with players just a shot back including Webb Simpson and Brendan Steele. Defending champion J.B. Holmes is also in the mix at 3-under alongside Hunter Mahan. The afternoon wave which features World No. 1 McIlroy, is gearing up for first-round action.

Quail Hollow, measuring more than 7,400 yards, should test the world’s best players, especially when trying to find the right spot on the refurbished greens. Traditionally a difficult course to drive the ball off the tee with pine tree trouble lurking, Quail Hollow typically comes down to work around the greens and approach shots. Putting and scrambling should determine the champion at the Tom Fazio designed par-72 layout. It ranked second most difficult on tour in 2014 for proximity to the hole.

Expect the “Green Mile” – holes 16-17-18— to make the difference down the stretch this week. Several past winners at Quail Hollow are in the field this week including McIlroy, who fired a course-record 62 in the final round to edge Mickelson in 2010. Furyk won here in 2006. Past champs include David Toms and Derek Ernest, who chased down Phil to win this title.

At 6,500 square feet, the greens are sloppy so look for solid scramblers and putters to contend.

Golf Channel and CBS Sports have the television coverage this week.

Other Golf News:

  • Rolex Ranking No. 1 Lydia Ko (6-1 odds to win) headlines the Kingsmill Championship this week on the LPGA Tour. She competes against the women’s best players including Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis and two-time winner in 2015 Sei Young Kim. Lizette Salas is the defending champion, but look for Cristie Kerr (12-1) who has three wins in 10 tries here.
  • The European Tour hosts the Open de Espana this week. World No. 7 Sergio Garcia is the betting favorite at 5-1 odds to win it. He is coming off a playoff loss in Florida at THE PLAYERS Championship. Take a look at Tommy Fleetwood, at 22-1 odds. Fleetwood is coming off a quarter-final effort at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play.
  • Adam Scott, who tees it up this week at the Wells Fargo, slipped outside of the Top 10 for the first time since winning the Masters in 2013. The former World No. 1 was bumped out by Rickie Fowler’s victory at THE PLAYERS. Fowler moved from 13th to 9th with his win at TPC Sawgrass.
  • The Champions Tour hosts its first major of the season this week at the Regions Tradition in Alabama. Nine different players have won on the tour this season.