Rory ready to challenge

04 May 2018 04:36:33 EST

Two-time Wells Fargo Championship winner Rory McIlroy put himself in position for a third title after firing a three-under-par 68 in Thursday's opening round.

That morning lap of Quail Hollow in North Carolina put the Northern Irishman in a tie for seventh spot, just three behind John Peterson, who stormed into a two-shot lead thanks to a pair of late back-to-back eagles.

McIlroy had five birdies against two bogeys in his first round since a disappointing closing 74 at the US Masters dropped him to tied fifth.

"I would have taken 68 before I went out there," he said. "My game felt a little bit rusty in the pro-am and I didn't play that well. I went to practice a little bit on the range and I found of couple of feelings that I was able to take from the range straight onto the golf course, so that was nice.

"I hit the ball much better, drove it much better, and the course is a little easier than it was last August in the PGA. Even if you don't hit it quite so well, you can still get away with it most times."

McIlroy won the title here in 2010 after a storming weekend finish and added a second victory in 2015.

"I love this place," he added. "I play well. I feel like I don't have to play that good and I can still get it around. So yeah, it's a very comfortable golf course for me.

"I like tree-lined golf courses. I like that it gives you definition, I like that it frames holes for you. I love that. If I had one golf course to play for the rest of my life, it would be a tree-lined, framed sort of golf course."

McIlroy is 1000/1 to win the Wells Fargo Championship, with Jason Day (-2) 1/250, Tyrrell Hatton (-4) 1000/1, Kyle Stanley (-3) 200/1 and Paul Casey (-2) 1000/1.

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