John Peterson shot a 6-under par 65 in the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship and will take a two-stroke lead into Friday’s second round at Quail Hollow Club.
Peterson, who is currently playing on a Major Medical Extension (hand injury), finished his first day in Charlotte with a bogey against four birdies and two eagles, both of which came consecutively on hole Nos. 7 and 8.
The 29-year old, who has three starts to earn 237 FedExCup points or $318,096 to keep his card, leads for the first time in his career.
“I don’t think I’ve ever led solo out here. I might have been tied or one back a few times, played a few final groups,” said Peterson, who has made four cuts in five starts in 2018, but has yet to finish better than T34.
“I don’t think it will be that bad. I’m kind of freewheeling it at this point. I know a little bit has been said about me retiring if I don’t make the necessary money for my medical starts, and all that’s true.
“If I don’t make it, I’m not playing golf anymore. So I’m kind of freewheeling it out here.”
Johnson Wagner also posted consecutive eagles (on Nos. 14 and 15) to reach 6 under, but then bogeyed Nos. 16 and 18 to drop back to 4-under par, alongside Tyrrell Hatton, Keith Mitchell, Kyle Stanley, and Peter Malnati.
Rory McIlroy made five birdies against two bogeys and leads a logjam of 10 players at 3-under par.
“I would have taken 68 before I went out there. My game felt a little bit rusty in the pro-am yesterday and didn’t play that well,” said McIlroy.
“Went to practice a little bit yesterday afternoon on the range and found of couple of feelings that I was able to take from the range straight onto the golf course today, so that was nice.”
Tiger Woods opened with a even-par 71, while Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, and Rickie Fowler were one back at 1-over 72. Reigning PGA Champ Justin Thomas struggled to a 2-over 73 and sits T79.
TOP 10 LEADERS
1. John Peterson -6
2. Peter Malnati -4
2. Tyrrell Hatton -4
2. Johnson Wagner -4
2. Keith Mitchell -4
2. Kyle Stanley -4
7. Ten players -3
7. Rory McIlroy -3
17. Jason Day -2
34. Patrick Reed E
34. Tiger Woods -4
59. Phil Mickelson +1
59. Brooks Koepka +1
59. Rickie Fowler +1
79. Justin Thomas +2
79. Alex Noren +2
97. Tommy Fleetwood +3
114. Adam Scott +4
ROUND 1: VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
“I’m kind of freewheeling it at this point. I know a little bit has been said about me retiring if I don’t make the necessary money for my medical starts, and all that’s true. If I don’t make it, I’m not playing golf anymore.
“So I’m kind of freewheeling it out here. I don’t really have a ton to lose, just kind of playing golf. My whole family’s here and they came last week and they came the week before that and they’re watching me with all the starts I have remaining.
“So I probably won’t do much different tonight. Probably go to the same restaurant and do the same thing, have a couple Miller Lites and call it a night.”
– John Peterson