Rory McIlroy leads big names atop Quail Hollow leaderboard

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Who will contend with first-round leader Rory McIlroy at Quail Hollow? (Getty Images)

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Rory McIlroy started his first post-Masters tournament in style on Thursday with a 5-under 67 at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.

It was by far his best first round of the 2013 season:

Joining McIlroy near the top of the leaderboard is Nick Watney (67), Phil Mickelson (68), and Webb Simpson (70).

McIlroy got his first-ever PGA Tour victory at Quail Hollow in 2010 when he defeated runner-up Phil Mickelson by four strokes. He lost a playoff to Rickie Fowler in 2012.

The young Ulsterman, playing with a high-profile group of Bubba Watson and Angel Cabrera, started the day with four straight pars before not making par for eight straight holes (six birdies and two bogeys). He then ended with a birdie at No. 18 for his 67.

Here's a look at his scorecard:

He told Golf Channel after his round:

"I thought the course could play a little better than 5 under. But this course is tough."

This cluster of star power atop the Wells Fargo Championship leaderboard is exactly what the tour needed given that the first half of the week was dominated by talk of how poor the greens at Quail Hollow were and the Vijay Singh deer antler spray scandal.

Ther have also been a number of pretty high-profile withdrawls from the tournament: David Toms, Ian Poulter, Singh, Dustin Johnson and Jim Furyk to name some.

If Thursday was any indication we should still be in for an exciting weekend. McIlroy might even get back to PGA Tour roots with his second win here in four years.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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