Bill Haas seizes Quail Hollow PGA lead

Charlotte: Bill Haas fired a record-equalling eight-under par 64 to seize a two-shot lead after the first round of the USPGA Wells Fargo Championship.

Haas` eight birdies on Thursday included all four of the par-fives as he equalled the lowest opening round ever shot in the event.

"I`ve got good feelings around this place," Haas said.

Haas was two strokes in front of David Toms and Jonathan Byrd, who set an early target in chilly early morning conditions.

Haas opened his round with a birdie at the par-five 10th, where he hit a three-wood onto the green and two-putted.

He added three more birdies before he had to make a 10-footer to save par at 18.

Even before Thursday`s sparkling effort, Haas held a special affection for Quail Hollow, which he played as a youngster with his father, Jay Haas, a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour.

"My dad would say, `Let`s go play Quail tomorrow.` It was a bigger deal than just playing at home," Haas said.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy also has plenty of good memories of Quail Hollow, but he struggled to a 75 that included five bogeys and two birdies.

"The story of the day for me is I really didn`t hit it very well, which is unlike me," said McIlroy, who is playing in the US for the first time since his final-round collapse at the Masters last month. "It`d be the strength of my game and today I just wasn`t striking it well. My timing was off just a little bit."

Pat Perez and Lucas Glover shared fourth on 67. They were followed by a group of five players on 68 that included Fiji`s Vijay Singh, Aussie Stuart Appleby and rising US star Rickie Fowler.

Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington were in a group on 69.

"I hadn`t played in a few weeks, and to shoot under par was a good start," said Mickelson, who twice found the water but managed to save par each time. "It could have been a lot better, could have been a lot worse. I`ll certainly take it."

Byrd and Toms had to contend with morning cold that made the course play longer than usual.

Toms, not a long hitter, was especially pleased with his round.

"It was cold this morning, and we were all out there with our jackets and sweaters on and playing these long par fours," he said. "If I can shoot three-under on the front nine, as long as it played, I`ll take that any day."

Bureau Report

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