(Reuters) – Patrick Reed played “boring golf” to earn a four-way share of the clubhouse lead during the first round at the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina on Thursday.
Last year’s Masters champion managed a bogey-free four-under-par 67 in Charlotte that was matched by fellow American Adam Schenk, Scot Martin Laird and Canadian Nick Taylor.
Defending champion Jason Day was among a group one stroke behind, while Rory McIlroy, a two-times winner of the event at Quail Hollow, had a late tee time.
Reed said it had been important to take advantage of the excellent conditions on a perfect spring morning.
“It’s pretty calm out there,” he told PGA Tour Radio.
“I know from the past you have to on the early day shoot a number.
“The biggest thing, especially around this place is to play boring golf. From that point I was able to put the ball from point A to point B fairly well and make some putts.”
Among the other big names out early, American Phil Mickelson shot 71, while Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who almost won the PGA Championship on the same course two years ago, battled to a 73.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)