If there ever was a course to get slumping Rory McIlroy back on track, Quail Hollow might be it.
McIlroy shot a five-under-par 66 Friday at the Wells Fargo Championship to make the cut for the first time in two months and reach four-under for the tournament, two strokes behind leaders Matt Wallace, Gary Woodland and Patrick Rodgers.
First-round leader Phil Mickelson dropped to a tie for 10th overall after carding a 75 at the Charlotte, North Carolina course.
Only Roger Sloan (64) went lower than McIlroy in the second round, as the 32-year-old recorded six birdies and just one bogey after shooting 72 in the first round.
The Northern Irishman recorded his first PGA Tour victory at Quail Hollow in 2010 and won there again in 2015. He lost out to Rickie Fowler in a three-man playoff in 2012.
McIlroy is playing his first tournament since missing the cut at the Masters and The Players Championship, the latter coming a week after a 10th-place finish at the Arnold Palmer invitational in early March.
"When you played the way I played sort of through that stretch in March and into April, you're going to feel like you're not as close as you probably are," McIlroy told reporters.
"But I worked hard after Augusta. I took a week off and reset, which I needed.
"Then I put my head down and worked hard and at least felt better about everything coming in here."
Among the three leaders heading into the weekend, Wallace shot 67 Friday, Rodgers 68 and Woodland 69.
Matt Wallace, Gary Woodland, Patrick Rodgers are tied for the lead after 36 holes, tying the tournament record for most players tied for the 36-hole lead (2007)— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) May 7, 2021
Kramer Hickok is one stroke back at five-under for the tournament, while Scott Piercy, Keith Mitchell, Carlos Ortiz and Scott Stallings are tied with McIlroy at four-under.
Mickelson and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson are among those at three-under, while 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed sits four back of the leaders.
"The back nine I just wasn't sharp," Mickelson said.
"I love the golf course, I'm playing well, and if I can just stay focused I'm going to have a good weekend."
Justin Thomas is six back entering the weekend, while 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and 2020 Open Championship winner Shane Lowry just made the two-over cut.
Among those who missed the cut were past major champions Fowler, Jason Day, Francesco Molinari and Lucas Glover in addition to defending champion Max Homa and Jon Rahm.
Rahm had made 22 consecutive cuts, the longest active streak on Tour.