Phil Mickelson was entertaining to the very end Thursday and finished one shot behind Angel Cabrera in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C.
Cabrera played in early, calmer conditions and thrived on the new Bermuda greens at Quail Hollow. He made seven birdies, including a 40-footer from just off the green, and turned in a 6-under 66 that stood as the lead the rest of the day.
Mickelson caught him twice and couldn’t hold it.
Coming off his first missed cut at the Masters in 17 years, Mickelson handled the strong, swirling wind in the afternoon for a 67, tied with Martin Flores. Mickelson hit only one fairway on the back nine. He bogeyed both the par 3s. He chipped poorly and atoned for that with long par putts.
And he wound up with the start he wanted at a tournament he badly wants to win.
‘‘It was important for me to get off to a good start today because I haven’t played as well as I would like to this year, and I haven’t been getting off to great starts,’’ Mickelson said. ‘‘So I'm always playing from behind. And it feels great to get off to a quick start where I don’t have to feel like I'm playing catch-up.’’
Webb Simpson, the former US Open champion and a member at Quail Hollow, might have joined Cabrera except for the way he finished each nine. He took double bogey on No. 9 when he hit into the trees and three-putted, and made bogey on No. 18 with another wayward tee shot. Other than that, his card was filled with seven birdies for a 68.
Stewart Cink and Jonathan Byrd also were at 68.
Rory McIlroy also had a few patches of wild play — a tee shot down the side of the hill toward the water on No. 16, another that hit a tree and bounced so far left that Boy Wonder thought about playing a shot down a service road behind the corporate tents. Wiser heads prevailed — his caddie's, in this case — and he limited the damage to bogey.
He still made six birdies and was in the large group at 69 that included Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer, who played his final four holes in 2-under par despite not making a birdie or a par. Kaymer went bogey-eagle-eagle-bogey.
LPGA — Suzann Pettersen shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 to take the first-round lead at the North Texas LPGA Shootout in Irving.
Pettersen, who returned to the tour last week after missing a month with back issues, had a one-stroke lead over Cristie Kerr, Michelle Wie, Caroline Masson, Christina Kim, Cydney Clanton, and Dori Carter.
Top-ranked Inbee Park, the defending champion, and Texas native Stacy Lewis, the highest-ranked American at No. 3, both shot 71 at Las Colinas Country Club.
Pettersen took sole possession of the lead when she birdied No. 7 and 8, her 16th and 17th holes of the day.
European — Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand made nine birdies in a blemish-free round of 9-under 63 to take the first-round lead at The Championship at Laguna National in Singapore.
Panuphol, ranked just 451st in the world, was a stroke ahead of a group of four golfers in second — Scott Jamieson, David Lipsky, Kim Byung-jun, and Quincy Quek.
The tournament, co-sanctioned with the Asian tour and formerly called the Ballantine’s Championship, was moved from South Korea to Singapore just three weeks ago after it lost its title sponsor and the promoter failed to reach an agreement with a suitable golf venue.
PGA of America — The 2022 PGA Championship will be played at Trump National GC in Bedminster, N.J., the first time a Donald Trump-owned course will host a major championship.
Also, the 2017 Senior PGA Championship will be contested over Trump National GC in Potomac Falls, Va.
‘‘Certainly when you have courses, when you get acknowledged to have one of the majors . . . having the PGA is a very, very big deal,’’ Trump said. ‘‘So it’s very important to me. It’s a great honor for me and it’s a tremendous honor for both of those clubs.’’