Theegala 7th as Lee is top Asian and Fleetwood leads Wells Fargo -

Theegala 7th as Lee is top Asian and Fleetwood leads Wells Fargo

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Charlotte, North Carolina: Korea’s K.H. Lee, coming back after a two-week break, wielded a hot putter for an opening 5-under 66 as he was tied second place after the first round of the US$20 million Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday.

Tommy Fleetwood began his search for a maiden PGA TOUR win with a bogey-free round of 65 that included birdies on the 17th and 18th holes at Quail Hollow’s tough three-hole closing stretch. He was in sole lead as he was followed by five players at 5-under 66.

The five chasers included K H Lee, Xander Schauffele, Kevin Streelman, Taylor Moore and Ryan Palmer.

Sahith Theegala, the American-Indian, who has hit big time in the last year or so, continued his fine run. He shot 4-under 67 and was tied seventh in a group that had nine players.

Among the group at Tied-seventh was Patrick Cantlay, who is this week with Tiger Woods’ former caddie Joe LaCava on his bag, shot 67. Cantlay plays without a yardage book in his pocket.

Another American Indian, Akshay Bhatia had a difficult start with 1-over 72 and was Tied-77th.

Fleetwood, who has six career wins on the DP World Tour, is chasing a first PGA TOUR win, hit an eagle and four birdies en route to his third career 18-hole lead/co-lead on TOUR. Fleetwood has four previous runner-up finishes.

There was a time when Schauffele was racing away at 7-under after 15 holes, but bogeys on two of the three final holes saw him drop.

World No. 3 Rory McIlroy, who did not touch a club for two weeks, shot a 3-under 68 in his first event since missing the cut at the Masters. McIlroy has won the Wells Fargo Championship three times and finished in the top 10 nine times in 11 starts.

Defending champion and two-time winner Max Homa shot 70. Tony Finau, who has won four of the last 18 tournaments he has played, including last week’s Mexico Open at Vidanta, shot 71 with after birdies in two of his final three holes.

Lee, a two-time PGA TOUR winner overcame an early bogey with five birdies at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte as the Korean enjoyed a welcome return to Quail Hollow, which hosted the Presidents Cup last September where Lee made his International Team debut.

Lee’s compatriots Tom Kim (67), Si Woo Kim (68) and Sungjae Im (69), who were also part of last year’s Presidents Cup, also enjoyed strong starts. Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan opened with a 68.

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