Robert Karlsson, whose best finish at Quail Hollow is a tie for 24th, is contending in his adopted hometown.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Granted, Robert Karlsson and Ryan Moore each gave a stroke back as they played Quail Hollow's tough three-hole finishing stretch nicknamed "The Green Mile."
But as the leaders were teeing off in the Wells Fargo Championship the two veterans were living proof birdies were to be had on Saturday. Moore birdied five of his first seven holes while Karlsson, the Swede who now lives in Charlotte, made his move up the leaderboard with a 69 that included five birdies.
The two are tied at 6 under, as a result, with John Senden, who shot 67; Derek Ernest and Lee Westwood, who shot 72s, and David Lynn, who birdied the last two holes for his 71. Even better, they are only two strokes off the lead.
"I got off to a hot start," Moore acknowledged. "It was a pretty tough, blustery, windy day and the course is playing long. So you had a lot of long irons, hybrids and even fairway woods into the par 4s. So obviously to get into a off to a hot start like that was great.
"I found myself in a little bit of trouble on the back nine and kind of started missing some fairways but I was able to scramble and keep it a reasonable round."
Karlsson, who lives about 20 minutes from Quail Hollow, birdied the first hole for the third time this week. He agreed with Moore about the conditions.
"It's nice to come off to a good start and play well and manage to keep it going," he said. "It's very testing conditions out there. We've got a lot of wind and the greens are not easy to hole a lot of putts on. So it's very important to keep patient and keep going because you never know what's going to happen. If you get a good streak, it could be very good."
The weather is expected to worsen on Sunday and tournament officials have moved tee times up in hopes of getting play complete before the worst of the rain arrives. Players will be sent off in threesomes from 6:45-9:45 a.m.
"I hope the weather holds off," Moore said. "If something pretty tough hits us first thing in the morning I'm not sure what they're going to do to the event. Hopefully it holds off until the afternoon like they're thinking. I'm just gonna go off, keep my head down and see what happens."
"It's obviously not ideal to tee off on Sunday at 7 o'clock in the morning," Karlsson said. "But we'll have to do what we can to get the round finished if the weather's going to be really bad. We're getting used to this this year. We've had a lot of bad weather, and we just need to deal with it."