The new greens at Quail Hollow proved to be a good tonic for Angel Cabrera, who made seven birdies in his round of 6-under 66 to take a two-shot lead among the early starters at the Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday (US time).
The club changed over to Bermuda greens as it prepares to host the 2017 U.S. PGA Championship.
Cabrera hasn’t had a lot go right this year, making only two cuts in nine starts on the U.S. PGA Tour.
But something worked in the opening round. Not only was it his best score of the year, it was only his fourth round in the 60s.
“It was a very good first round, and we have a lot to go,” the Argentine said through a translator.
Jonathan Byrd and Stewart Cink each had a 68 in relatively calm, humid conditions in the morning.
The wind began to pick up in the afternoon when Phil Mickelson, who was one shot back of Cabrera, played.
Rory McIlroy had six birdies and had to settle for a 69 when he failed to convert two good birdie chances late in his round.
Even so, he took advantage of the par 5s, which he failed to do at Augusta National last month, and was pleased to see adjustments in his putting stroke pay off.
Others at 69 included Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and Martin Kaymer of Germany.
1 Angel Cabrera -6
T2 Martin Flores -5
T2 Phil Mickelson -5
T4 Jonathan Byrd -4
T4 Stewart Cink -4
T4 Webb Simpson -4
T23 Bronson La'Cassie -1
T44 Geoff Ogilvy E
T67 Robert Allenby 1
T84 Matt Jones 2
T84 Scott Gardiner 2
T100 Greg Chalmers 3
T133 Stuart Appleby 5