CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Steve Wheatcroft and Andrew Loupe each shot 7-under 65 on Thursday in rain and steady wind to share the first-round lead in the Wells Fargo Championship, while Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler dodged a thrown golf ball with an earplug attached to it.
As if battling a lengthy and saturated course wasn’t enough, playing partners McIlroy and Fowler endured a bizarre event on the sixth tee box when a spectator hurled the dressed-up golf ball their way as Fowler was preparing to hit. The fan was escorted from the property by police.
Fowler, the 2012 winner at Quail Hollow, finished with a 71, leaving him six shots behind Wheatcroft and Loupe, who were also paired together. McIlroy, the only two-time winner of the tournament, shot a 73 after a bogey-plagued start to his title defense. He won by seven shots last year, finishing at 21 under.
Loupe, who has three top-10 finishes this season, shot a 31 on the front nine. Wheatcroft did his work on the four par 5s, playing them in 6 under with two eagles and two birdies.
India’s Anibarn Lahiri was a shot back after a 66.
Phil Mickelson, who has finished in the top five six times in 12 starts at the Wells Fargo Championship but never won, opened with a 69.
Jim Furyk shot a 73 in his return from an eight-month layoff because of a wrist injury.
PRATTVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Laetitia Beck took the first-round lead in the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, dodging some of the wind in the morning in a bogey-free 7-under 65.
The 24-year-old Beck, the first Israeli player to qualify for the LPGA Tour, was in the first group of the day off 10th tee. She birdied four of the final five holes on her opening nine in calmer conditions, and had three more — two on par 5s — on the windier second nine.
Annie Park and Australia’s Minjee Lee were tied for second at 67. They played in the afternoon.
Beck hit 11 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens and had only 26 putts on the links-style Senator Course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Capitol Hill complex. The former Duke player is winless on the tour and has made only two cuts in eight events this season.
Mexico’s Alejandra Llaneza opened with a 68.
Morgan Pressel, Vicky Hurst and Taiwan’s Candie Kung shot 69.
TROPHEE HASSAN II
RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Italy’s Francesco Laporta, France’s Thomas Linard and Australia’s shared the first-round lead in the Trophee Hassan II at 4-under 68.
Morocco’s Younes El Hassani was a shot back at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam along with Spain’s Borja Virto Astudillo, Argentina’s Estanislao Goya and Frenchmen Adrien Saddier and Mike Lorenzo-Vera.