McIlroy is three strokes off the pace at Wells Fargo


Rory McIlroy makes a drive at Quail Hollow

Rory McIlroy's first PGA Tour victory came in Charlotte [Getty Images]

Wells Fargo Championship first round leaderboard

-7 Schauffele (USA); -4 McIlroy (NI), Morikawa (USA), Noren (Switzerland); -3 Thomas (USA), Im (Kor), Day (Aus), Hodges (USA), Henley (USA), Moore (USA)


Rory McIlroy is three shots behind leader Xander Schauffele after an encouraging first round of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte.

The Northern Irishman shot a four-under-par 67 to move level with Collin Morikawa and Alex Noren for second place.

An eagle, three birdies and a bogey got McIlroy to four under through the first nine balls, but he couldn't build on that on the back nine with three birdies and three bogeys.

McIlroy, who won his first PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow in 2010, has won the tournament three times.

“When I play in front of these fans, I feel like Charlotte has taken me in as one of their own, so to speak.

“It was a great journey. I had some great memories and of course I’m trying to make more of them.”

Seven-time PGA Tour winner Schauffele dropped just one shot in his opening round and hit six birdies and an eagle.

England's Tommy Fleetwood is level with Matt Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose with three overs to spare.

The second men's major of the year, the US PGA Championship, takes place next week in Valhalla.