Defending champion Jason Day and fellow Queenslander John Senden took advantage of the benign early conditions to post solid first-round scores and finish two behind the leaders at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Both players carded rounds of three-under par 68 to sit tied eighth, with World No.4 Rory McIlroy and Joel Dahmen heading the field.
Patrick Reed, fellow American Adam Schenk, Scotland's Martin Laird, Canadian Nick Taylor and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are a shot behind.
McIlroy, a two-time winner at the famed course, twice made birdie when he was out of position off the tee and ran off three straight birdies on the back nine for his lowest start in his 10 appearances at Quail Hollow.
"I didn't play my best today, but I managed my game well, scrambled well (and) it added up to a good score at the end of the day," McIlroy told reporters.
Dahmen holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to finish a bogey-free round – no small task on a firm, fast course – to match McIlroy.
Last year's Masters champion Reed admitted he played "boring golf" to post good figures.
"I know from the past you have to on the early day shoot a number," he said.
"The biggest thing, especially around this place is to play boring golf. From that point I was able to put the ball from point A to point B fairly well and make some putts."
RIGHT: McIlroy shares the lead after the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship. PHOTO: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.
Among the other big names out early, Phil Mickelson shot 71, while Hideki Matsuyama, who almost won the US PGA Championship on the same course two years ago, battled to a 73.
Meanwhile, players at the PGA Tour event paid tribute to this week's shooting victims at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and their families by wearing a small ribbon with the school's colours on their hats for the opening round.
Two students were killed and four others wounded on Tuesday when a former Charlotte student opened fire in a campus classroom.
The university is about 20 miles (30kms) from the course.
The ribbons were handed out on the first tee box where golfers also signed a memorial board.
Title holder Day insisted he wanted the focus to be on the victims, not the shooter.
"We live in a very, very different world right now when people are taking other people's lives," Day said.
"It's frustrating to hear about the young kids that are just starting their lives, or are going to start their lives, and the families that have to do deal with this heartbreak."