McIlroy Charges Into Tie for Lead in N.C.
Charlotte, n.c. — For all the talk about the greens, Rory McIlroy’s most important club was his driver yesterday in the Wells Fargo Championship.
McIlroy kept the ball in play at Quail Hollow and gave himself plenty of birdie chances on a cloudy, soft afternoon. He ran off six birdies in a seven-hole stretch around the turn and finished with an 8-foot birdie putt for a 5-under 67 to share the lead with six other players.
It was the first time this year McIlroy has been atop the leaderboard after any round, and the first time he broke par in the opening round.
Nick Watney, Ryan Moore, Robert Garrigus and PGA Tour rookie Derek Ernst shot 67 in the morning. Daniel Summerhays and Nate Smith, a Monday qualifier, joined McIlroy by posting their 67s in the afternoon.
Phil Mickelson and Lucas Glover were in a large group at 68, with 19-year-old Jordan Spieth in another big group at 69.
The talk going into the Wells Fargo Championship was the shape of the greens. Two of the putting surfaces had to be entirely replaced by sod just a week ago — the 10th green had to be sodded twice — and the other greens were ragged. Some had ugly patches of brown where there was no grass. But they weren’t as bad as players feared, and there wasn’t much public grumbling, mainly because Quail Hollow has a history of being in pristine shape and players seemed willing to accept this is an exceptionally bad year.
Williamsburg, Va. — Thai teen Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 7-under 64 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the LPGA Tour’s Kingsmill Championship.
The 17-year-old Jutanugarn was 8 under through 16 holes, but pulled her drive and had a double bogey on the par-3 17th before rebounding with her ninth birdie of the day on the par-4 finishing hole.
Cristie Kerr, the only-two time winner in the tour’s eight previous visits to the River Course, had six birdies and one bogey in a 66 that put her alone in second place.
So Yeon Ryu and Dewi Claire Schreefel shot 67, and a huge logjam at 68 included top-ranked Inbee Park, No. 2 Stacy Lewis and former Kingsmill winner Suzann Pettersen.
Ravens Keep Tackle
Baltimore — Bryant McKinnie has decided to remain with the Ravens.
After joining Baltimore in 2011 and winning a Super Bowl with the Ravens last season, McKinnie looked at other teams as a free agent. But yesterday he agreed to a two-year deal to stay put.
The 33-year-old McKinnie is an 11-year NFL veteran who spent his first nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He joined Baltimore as a starter in 2011, but was a backup for most of last season. However, he started all four postseason victories at left tackle last winter as the Ravens won the NFL championship.