McIlroy aims to move on from Masters misery at Quail Hollow

McIlroy aims to move on from Masters misery at Quail Hollow

McIlroy aims to move on from Masters misery at Quail Hollow

The Wells Fargo Championship is back at its familiar home of Quail Hollow after a one-year hiatus as the venue hosted the US PGA Championship.

That was before John Peterson came to life late Thursday (Friday NZ time).

He holed a bunker shot from just under 60 feet away on the par-5 seventh hole.

Peterson had a two-shot lead over five players, from Quail Hollow member Johnson Wagner to PGA Tour rookie Keith Mitchell.

Rory McIlroy could well be that man.

Kiwi Danny Lee will need a good second round to make the cut after a four-over 75. "Just struggled with the speed of the greens". But the surface was a little on the slow side, and several players left putts extraordinarily short. "(The Wells Fargo) was extremely gratifying just because it had been been so long and I had been playing really well and knocking on the door. Additionally, the rough is significantly shorter (about an inch in most places) than it was previous year, when players hit only 54% of greens from the rough, a season low.

The "Green Mile" is a tribute of the 1999 prison movie of the same name starring Tom Hanks and they are the punishing closing three holes at Quail Hollow. The par-4 1st and par-3 2nd holes were combined to create a new monster 540-yard opening hole par-4.

Peterson and the golfers in title contention shouldn't have to worry too much about Woods, though.

Yet, with the benefit of a few weeks to reflect, McIlroy will surely feel there is plenty to be positive about, not least a return to action at a course which has treated him very well indeed over the years.

"I played a lot of golf heading into Augusta, more golf than I thought I would be able to play", he said.

"I've always been a pretty good putter my whole career, so that'll be something I've never really anxious too much about", Woods said.

Woods has not won on the PGA Tour since 2013, but is optimistic about his prospects this week. He did not play in the PGA last year and missed the cut here in 2016, but impressively rattled off T9, T14 and T6 in the three years prior.

He will play in a group alongside Ted Potter Jr and Martin Kaymer, and the trio will tee off at 12:40pm (Irish Time) on Thursday, May 3, for their first round. Tiger Woods is also competing this week. He felt the grass on the greens had grown since earlier. And if his second tournament as a pro goes as well as his first, there's a potential new star coming to the PGA Tour.

McIlroy began the final round of the Masters alone in second place and three shots behind eventual champion Patrick Reed but after a disappointing day finished six shots back. Strangely enough, Woods said Augusta National is probably the easiest course he has played all year in terms of scoring.

With the career Grand Slam within range having played himself into a great position over the first three days, the Holywood man's challenge petered out on the Sunday as his putter went cold and the rest of his game followed. While I love him this week, I'm going to fade for the most part.

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