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Senden three off the Wells Fargo pace

Associated Press Associated Press 5/05/2016

John Senden fired as the remainder of the Aussie contingent floundered during the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship PGA Tour event.

One of eight Australians in the field, Senden opened with a four under 68 to be in a tie for sixth, three shots off the pace set by American duo Steve Wheatcroft and Andrew Loupe - who each shot 65s at a windswept and rain-soaked Quail Hollow on Thursday.

Senden was one of only two Aussies - along with Steven Bowditch (71) - to be in red figures after the opening round, with the likes of Adam Scott (73), Geoff Ogilvy (74) and Matt Jones (75) enduring tough starts.

World No.7 Scott had two bogeys and two birdies to make the turn at even-par before a double-bogey six at the 14th - when his approach found the water - saw him slip down the field.

He wasn't the only big name to struggle, with world No.3 Rory McIlroy (73) joining him at one-over.

Playing partner and No.5 Rickie Fowler was six off the pace after opening with a one-under 71, the pair also having to dodge a golf ball - with an earplug attached - which was thrown at them from the crowd.

"So random," Fowler said.

"The guy tried to say it was a gift. I don't know why you would give a gift of a golf ball with an earplug attached to it."

The fan was escorted from the property by police.

India's Anibarn Lahiri was alone in third a shot back after a 66, while Phil Mickelson - who has finished in the top five six times in 12 starts at the Wells Fargo Championship but never won - opened with a 69.

"I have been able to play well here over the years, but just haven't been able to breakthrough and get a victory," Mickelson said.

"But I will keep knocking on the door and hopefully keep giving myself a chance."

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