Stewart Cink birdied his last three holes to move into a share of the first-round lead with Ryan Moore and Webb Simpsn in the Wells Fargo Championship.
Cink hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since he captured the 2009 Open Championship, but started brightly at Quail Hollow with a 7-under 65 along with Simpson and Moore.
“It was a good round,” Cink said. “It wasn’t a great round, far from perfect, but I had a few putts go in the hole and managed my misses pretty well.
“I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m back … but it’s still good to see something like this and give yourself a little bit of confidence.”
Australian John Senden, Britain’s Brian Davis and Americans Rickie Fowler, DA Points and Patrick Reed all shot 66s to share fourth, while Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood had to settle for 1-under 71s.
US Open champion Rory McIlroy had a disappointing three-putt bogey on the last to sign for a hole for a 70.
Woods did not play very well his last time out when he recorded his worst finish as a professional in the Masters, and claimed to have fixed the swing issues that caused his inconsistency at Augusta. But found himself under pressure early after bogeying two of his first six holes.
“I made too many mistakes on the front nine,” the 14-times major champion said after mixing four birdies with three bogeys. “I didn’t get up and down a couple times and made a couple bad shots on the wrong side of the hole.
“I didn’t take care of the par-fives and I had an easy up and in at eight, which I messed up there. I’ve got to obviously not make those little mistakes like that tomorrow.”
McIlroy shot a course record 62 to win this event in 2010, but struggled with his driving in the first round.
“I didn’t hit many fairways and if you do that around here, it makes it a lot more difficult to score,” the 22-year-old said after carding four birdies and two bogeys.
“Conditions out there were pretty much perfect. Seventy probably wasn’t enough out there but it’s okay. I’ll go out tomorrow and see if I can do a little better.”
Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge was the highest placed man from Southern Africa after signing for a 5-under 67. Garth Mulroy shares 39th place on 2-under, while Retief Goosen shot a level-par 72 and Tim Clark is another shot back on 1-over.
Trevor Immleman is the worst placed South African after returning a 2-over 74.