Appleby on stage at Wells Fargo

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STUART APPLEBY shot a four-under 68 to be well in contention after the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow today.

Appleby helped himself to eight birdies but unfortunately also managed 4 bogeys to be four behind overnight leader Bill Haas at the US PGA Tour event in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Haas fired an eight-under 64 to lead inaugural winner David Toms and Jonathon Byrd by two strokes.

Former U.S. Open winner Lucas Glover and Pat Perez share fourth at five-under 67.

Appleby is tied for 6th along with Rickie Fowler, Vijay Singh, Carl Pettersson and Jim Herman.

Phil Mickelson struggled with the driver but still managed a three-under 69 while defending champion Rory McIlroy, playing for the first time in the U.S. since his final-round meltdown at the Masters, battled early errors to card a three-over 75.

“The story of the day for me was I just didn’t hit it very well,” the young Irishman said. “Which is unlike me, being the strength of my game.”

The next best placed Australians were Matthew Goggin and Matt Jones tied for 22nd on 2-under, with Jarrod Lyle and Steven Bowditch on 1-under and Robert Allenby on even.

Mickelson was tied in a group that included Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington.

The Wells Fargo Championship is being telecast in Australia on Fox Sports.

2011 Wells Fargo championship Leaderboard.

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