- Associated Press - Thursday, May 3, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Rickie Fowler isn’t letting the fact that he hasn’t won on the PGA Tour consume him.

He knows it’ll come someday.

“Everything kind of has to fall into place,” Fowler said Thursday after shooting a 6-under 66 in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship. “It’s tough to put 72 holes of great golf together. The last couple weeks I’ve been hitting the ball well and putting myself in position.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a win is just around the corner.”

Maybe even this week.

Fowler’s bogey-free round included an eagle on No. 7 and left him one shot behind leaders Ryan Moore, Stewart Cink and Webb Simpson at the Quail Hollow Club, the same course where Rory McIlroy earned his PGA Tour win two years ago.

Fowler has three goals this season _ to get that first win, make it to the Tour championship and earn a spot on the Ryder Cup team.

He said he has a renewed vigor after watching his best friend on tour, Bubba Watson, won the Masters.

“Just kind of getting to see kind of the moments from outside the ropes and see what was going on coming down the stretch, I definitely took a lot away from it,” Fowler said. “(It was) kind of more the feeling that I want to be in that position. Instead of Bubba winning I want to win. Maybe he’ll let me win one soon.”


Watson isn’t playing this week and also announced Thursday he’s pulling out of the Players Championship.


CHARLOTTE’S WEBB: Webb Simpson received more cheers walking up the 18th fairway than playing partner Tiger Woods.

That’s not all that surprising around here.

Simpson is a Charlotte resident and a member at Quail Hollow _ and he outplayed Woods by six strokes.

Strangely enough, this was his first time Simpson has finished a round with Woods.

They played together once before at Doral but Simpson joked, “I accidentally kicked him in the leg and he had withdrew. … We went from 10,000 people every hole to zero people.”


TIGER’S DAY: In his first appearance since the Masters, Woods shot 71 after overcoming a slow start.

He shot 34 on the back nine and finished the round six shots back but still very much in contention.

“That’s one of the good things about today is I made those adjustments on the back nine and hit the ball much better,” Woods said. “The front nine I just missed the ball in the wrong spots and a couple easy up-and-ins. It’s something I need to take care of (on Friday).”


MICKELSON NOT WORRIED: Phil Mickelson also shot a 71, a round that was ruined by a triple-bogey 7 at the par-4 fourth.

“I feel like there’s a hot round out there,” Mickelson said. “I’ll come out here Friday afternoon and see if I can shoot something mid 60s and get right in it for the weekend. We’ve seen with McIlroy in 2010, the guy who makes the cut on the number can still win this tournament. It’s not something I’ll stress about.”

That was the year McIlroy played the first two rounds in 1-over par before shooting 66 on Saturday and a course-record 62 on Sunday to win the tournament by four strokes over Mickelson.


A TERRIBLE ROUND OF 66: Normally PGA Tour players are pretty excited about shooting a 6-under 66.

Brian Davis wasn’t.

“I absolutely hit it awful tee to green,” he said. “It was just terrible. I got away with everything. I chipped and putted like hell today, and things go your way. Things like that can make a difference. Obviously we’ll go to the range this afternoon and try and iron out a few flaws in our swing.”


CINK BACK IN CONTENTION: Cink has had a rough start to the season, missing the cut in three of last four tournaments and managing only one top-25 finish in 10 starts.

He had his game going on Thursday, shooting a 65 for a share of the lead.

It was his lowest round of the year, but he wasn’t making any grand claims about his improved game.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m back or make some kind of statement like that,” Cink said. “But it’s still good to see something like this and give yourself a little bit of confidence.”



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