CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- As if battling a rain-soaked course and gusting winds weren't difficult enough, playing partners Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler also had to dodge a golf ball with an earplug attached to it at the Wells Fargo Championship.
A spectator threw the object just after McIlroy hit his tee shot and Fowler was preparing to tee off on the sixth hole at Quail Hollow Club on Thursday.
Fowler said the ball flew by his left side. He didn't know what it was until it stopped rolling.
"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 course by police.
"Just it was one of those things," McIlroy said. "It was a golf ball with an ear plug stuck on it, so it was sort of strange. Charlotte's finest (police) sorted it out and got him off the property, thankfully."
Fowler finished the round with a 1-under par 71, five shots behind the early leader Anirban Lahiri of India. McIlroy struggled early, reaching 4-over par before finishing with a 73, leaving him seven shots back.
McIlroy wound up with a birdie on the 250-yard par 3, while Fowler and the other member of their threesome, Hideki Matsuyama, carded 3s.