Wednesday 17 January 2018

Cabrera leads at Wells Fargo

Angel Cabrera leads after a six-under-par round at Wells Fargo (AP)
Angel Cabrera leads after a six-under-par round at Wells Fargo (AP)
Angel Cabrera held the lead after the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship

Angel Cabrera held the lead after the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte after he carded a six-under-par 66 on Thursday.

The Argentinian thrived on the new Bermuda grass greens and hit seven birdies, with the only blot on his card a bogey at the par four fourth hole as he finished the round holding a one stroke lead over Americans Phil Mickelson and Martin Flores, who were tied for second.

Stewart Cink, Jonathan Byrd and Webb Simpson held a three-way tie for fourth place with a cluster of nine players including Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Scotland's Martin Laird tied for seventh on three under.

Rose arguably had the shot of the round after he made a 75-foot putt to claim an eagle on the par-five fifth hole.

Cabrera parred the first two holes before claiming a birdie on the third, although that was cancelled out on the next hole with a bogey on the fourth. Three more birdies saw the 44-year-old go out in 33 and a further three on the back nine in consecutive holes from 10 to 12 saw him finish on 66.

The two-time major winner was pleased with his first round performance and praised the changes made to the course.

He told "It was a really good first round. I played really good on the greens.

"The changes are really good and on the 16th hole it is a really good change.

"I felt really good putting."

Mickelson had an up and down opening round, going out in 32 with birdies on the first, third, seventh and eighth holes, before bogeys on the 13th and 17th holes cancelled out two of the birdies he carded on his return, on the 10th, 12th and 15th holes.

Flores started and ended his round with a bogey, but shot seven birdies to go level with Mickelson, while Cink, who started on the back nine, enjoyed his opening round as he finished a further stroke back.

Cink said: "It was a good round. Up and down a little more up than down. This golf course is not easy. You can play pretty well and still take your lumps out there. I kind of did and overall it was a good round and I am pleased.

"I've always felt fairly comfortable playing at Quail Hollow. It's a fun place to play and there are a lot of challenging shots out there but the course will reward good play.

"I have a good attitude while I'm here. I feel comfortable and the course forces you into being in a good frame of mind."

Northern Ireland's McIlroy started on the back nine and came into the clubhouse with 69 after three bogeys and six birdies in his opening round.

However, despite not recording as low a score as others on the course, the 24-year-old was boosted by his putting performance.

"I felt like I played solid," he said. "I gave myself plenty of looks for birdies and I felt like I putted a little better today than I have done in the past few weeks.

"I was looking to go a couple more under par after the turn but I bogeyed three and four but bounced back nicely on five and six and I was trying to squeeze a couple more but I think anything sub 70 today is a good score because the wind is a little gusty out there."

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