For all the talk about the greens, Rory McIlroy's most important club was his driver Thursday in the Wells Fargo Championship.
McIlroy kept the ball in play and set up plenty of birdie chances at Quail Hollow. He ran off six birdies in a seven-hole stretch around the turn for a 5-under 67 that left him in a large group atop the leaderboard as the first round was winding down.
Two of the putting surfaces had to be entirely replaced with sod last week and the others are ragged. McIlroy's final birdie from 8 feet on the 18th hole bounced more than it rolled.
Nick Watney, Ryan Moore, Derek Ernst, Daniel Summerhays and Robert Garrigus also were at 67. The group one shot behind included Phil Mickelson and Lucas Glover.