Cabrera grabs early Wells Fargo Championship lead

Charlotte, NC ( - Angel Cabrera fired a 6-under 66 in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday to claim a 1-stroke lead over two players, including Phil Mickelson.

Cabrera, a two-time major winner, is searching for his first win on the PGA Tour since the 2009 Masters.

Mickelson and Martin Flores carded 5-under 67s to share second place, while Stewart Cink, Webb Simpson and Jonathan Byrd were tied for fourth at 4-under 68.

Former Wells Fargo champions Rory McIlroy and Vijay Singh are among a group of nine players tied for seventh place at Quail Hollow at 3-under 69.

They were joined by reigning U.S. Open winner Justin Rose, Shawn Stefani, Martin Kaymer, Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Hideki Matsuyama and Martin Laird.

Cabrera took the course in one of the first groups of the day and parred his first two holes before rolling in an 18-foot birdie putt at the third.

He gave that shot right back with a bogey at the fourth, but moved back to 1- under with another 18-foot birdie at the fifth.

After 2-putting for birdie at the par-5 seventh, Cabrera caught fire with four straight gains from the ninth, including a 42-foot effort at the 11th, to race to the top of the leaderboard.

He parred his final six holes to claim the clubhouse lead.

"I had a really good first round," said Cabrera. "I played very well on the greens and I saved myself on the holes that I didn't play so well."

Mickelson started fast with two birdies over his first three holes. He later added back-to-back gains at the seventh and eighth to make the turn at 4- under.

He stayed hot with birdies from 11 and six feet at the 10th and 12th, respectively, to meet Cabrera at 6-under, but a 2-putt bogey at the par-3 13th dropped him back to minus-5.

He again grabbed a share of the lead with a short birdie putt at the 15th, but he could not hang on for the second time as he 3-putted the 17th to fall to 5- under.

"It was a great way to start the tournament. I really haven't gotten off to great starts and I was really trying to get focused and get a good round Thursday, because I feel like I'm always playing from behind," Mickelson said. "To get off to a quick start is really a good sign and what I needed."

Flores traded a bogey at the first with a birdie at the second before moving into red numbers with a 3-foot birdie at the fifth. He capped an outward 33 with consecutive birdies at the eighth and ninth.

He also briefly met Cabrera at 6-under when he converted three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the 12th, but Bogeyed the 17th to fall back.

NOTES: Cabrera has made just two cuts in nine starts on the PGA Tour this season ... Mickelson, who has had at least six top-10 finishes in every season since 1998, is searching for his first finish inside the top 10 on the PGA Tour this season ... Mickelson has finished inside the top of at the Wells Fargo Championship a record seven times ... Defending champion Derek Ernst carded a 1-over 73 and is tied for 67th place ... The last four winners of this event have failed to make the cut the following year.