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May 9, 2024 7:07 pm

Xander Schauffele ahead by three shots at Wells Fargo

xander schauffele

Xander Schauffele fired a 7-under-par 64 in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship, starting and finishing his day strong to take the early lead at the $20 million signature event Thursday in Charlotte, N.C.

Schauffele held a three-shot advantage at day’s end after Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, a three-time winner of this tournament, finished an up-and-down round with a bogey at the 18th hole. McIlroy settled for a 4-under 67, tied for second with Collin Morikawa and Sweden’s Alex Noren.

Schauffele started on the back nine at Quail Hollow Club and birdied five of his first eight holes before taking his only bogey of the day at No. 18. After a quiet start to the front nine, he threw a dart on his second shot at the par-5 seventh hole, his ball glancing the side of the cup for a would-be albatross before leaving him just 5 feet for eagle to get to 6 under.

Schauffele’s drive at No. 8 flew far right, but he managed to find his ball and was allowed to move non-embedded rocks out of his path before hitting his second shot onto the green. He followed that critical par save with a 6-foot birdie putt to end his day with a flourish.

McIlroy’s highlight was a perfectly struck 50-foot eagle putt at No. 7 that gave him the solo lead at the time at 5 under. The rest of his day was a series of bogeys and bounce-back birdies until he failed to save par from 7 feet at No. 18.

Justin Thomas, Australia’s Jason Day and South Korea’s Sungjae Im were part of a large tie for fifth at 3-under 68.

The 69-man field is playing four rounds without a cut at the sixth signature event of the season, which doubles as a tune-up for next week’s PGA Championship.

–Field Level Media

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