CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Phil Mickelson was entertaining to the very end Thursday and finished one shot behind Angel Cabrera in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship.
Cabrera played in early, calmer conditions and thrived on the new Bermuda greens at Quail Hollow. He made seven birdies, including a 40-footer from just off the green, and turned in a 6-under 66 that stood as the lead the rest of the day.
Mickelson caught him twice and couldn’t hold it.
Coming off his first missed cut at the Masters in 17 years, Mickelson handled the strong, swirling wind in the afternoon for a 5-under 67, tied with Martin Flores. Mickelson hit only one fairway on the back nine. He bogeyed both the par 3s. He chipped poorly and atoned for that with long par putts.
Webb Simpson, the former U.S. Open champion and a member at Quail Hollow, might have joined Cabrera except for the way he finished each nine. He took double bogey on No. 9 when he hit into the trees and three-putted, and made bogey on No. 18 with another wayward tee shot. Other than that, his card was filled with seven birdies for a 68. Stewart Cink and Jonathan Byrd also were at 68.
Rory McIlroy also had a few patches of wild play – a tee shot down the side of the hill toward the water on No. 16, another that hit a tree and bounced so far left that Boy Wonder thought about playing a shot down a service road behind the corporate tents. Wiser heads prevailed – his caddie’s, in this case – and he limited the damage to bogey.
He still made six birdies and was in the large group at 69 that included U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer, who played his final four holes in 2-under par despite not making a birdie or a par. Kaymer went bogey-eagle-eagle-bogey.
NORTH TEXAS LPGA SHOOTOUT
IRVING, Texas (AP) – Suzann Pettersen shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 to take the first-round lead in the North Texas LPGA Shootout.
Pettersen, who returned to the LPGA Tour last week after missing a month with back issues, had a one-stroke lead over playing partner Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie, Caroline Masson, Christina Kim, Cydney Clanton and Dori Carter.
Top-ranked Inbee Park, the defending champion, and Texas native Stacy Lewis, the highest-ranked American at No. 3, both shot 71 at Las Colinas Country Club.
Pettersen took sole possession of the lead when she birdied Nos. 7 and 8, her 16th and 17th holes of the day.
THE CHAMPIONSHIP AT LAGUNA NATIONAL
SINGAPORE (AP) – Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat had a bogey-free 9-under 63 to take the first-round lead in The Championship at Laguna National.
American David Lipsky was a stroke back along with Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, South Korea’s Kim Byung-jun and Singapore’s Quincy Quek.
The event, sanctioned by the European and Asian tours, was moved from South Korea to Singapore three weeks ago after it lost its title sponsor and the promoter failed to reach an agreement with a suitable venue.