For all the talk about the greens, Rory McIlroy’s most important club was his driver Thursday in the Wells Fargo Championship.
McIlroy kept the ball in play at Quail Hollow and gave himself plenty of birdie chances on a cloudy, soft afternoon in Charlotte, N.C. He ran off six birdies in a seven-hole stretch around the turn and finished with an 8-foot birdie putt for a 5-under-par 67 to share the lead with six others.
It was the first time this year McIlroy has been atop the leaderboard after any round, and the first time he broke par in the opening round.
‘‘Now that I feel like I’m swinging it well, this is the sort of golf I expect to play,’’ McIlroy said. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.