Francesco Molinari (66) takes 1st-round lead at Wells Fargo Championship

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Francesco Molinari (66) takes 1st-round lead at Wells Fargo Championship

PGA Tour

Francesco Molinari (66) takes 1st-round lead at Wells Fargo Championship

Here is a recap of Thursday’s first round of the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship at Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, N.C.:

LEADING: Francesco Molinari posts eight birdies on Thursday to race out to 6-under 66 and a one-shot lead. The Italian was 5 under through 10 on the round and birdied 18 to secure his solo lead. Molinari, 34, won the Italian Open in September for his fourth European Tour title. He followed that up with top-six finishes in his next three events and top-14 showings in six of seven tournaments after the win. He’s cooled off a bit of late, but overall Molinari has top-25 finishes in nine of his 12 starts since that victory. Molinari is still searching for his first PGA Tour title.

CHASING: Four players are right behind Molinari in a tie for second at 5 under. Grayson Murray, one of that quartet, actually had it to 7 under and took the solo lead before closing bogey-bogey. J.B. Holmes, Brian Campbell and Alex Noren are the others at 5 under. Ben Martin leads a group of three at 4 under.

SHOT OF THE DAY: That closing birdie for Molinari? It was a chip-in. Doing that to take the lead definitely earns you Shot of the Day honors.

QUOTABLE: “I’m happy with the way I played. … All and all, I’m very pleased with the day I had.” – Dustin Johnson on his opening-round 70

CHIP SHOTS: Johnson, the World No. 1, shoots that 70 (2 under) in his first round back since his last-minute WD from the Masters due to a back injury from a fall. Johnson is tied for 15th after that opening round. … Jon Rahm opens strong with a 3-under 69 to put him in a tie for ninth. That’s two better than Phil Mickelson, who is tied for 31st after a solid 71. … Davis Love III may be 53 years old , but he can still keep up. An opening 70 for the winning Ryder Cup captain. … James Hahn, the defending champion albeit at a different course, opens in 72 and sits T-53. … Webb Simpson, an Eagle Point member with hundreds of rounds in on this course, opens in 1-over 73 and is T-81.

UP NEXT: Friday’s second round will be on Golf Channel from 2-6 p.m. ET. Follow all the action live on Golfweek.com and our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

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