Seamus Power is just two shots off the lead at the Wells Fargo Championship after a first-round four-under-par in North Carolina.

Francesco Molinari heads the leaderboard on six under while Power hit five birdies and on his way to a four-under 68 in a near flawless round.

It could have been better, but a dropped shot on the last hole – his only bogey of the day - meant he slipped back from a share of tied second.

Graeme McDowell enjoyed a steady start and sits on minus one, while Shane Lowry will need improvement to make the cut having finished three over after his first round.

Italian Molinari chipped in for birdie at the final hole to take the early lead with a six-under-par 66.

He was later joined on six under by Americans Grayson Murray, who briefly held the lead on seven under, and Brian Campbell. But, like Power, they dropped shots on the par four last to finish tied second on five under.

Sweden's Alex Noren and JB Holmes are also on minus five, heading Power by just a single shot, while Dustin Johnson made a tidy return to action with a two-under 70 at Eagle Point.

It was Johnson’s first competitive round since he slipped down stairs and badly bruised his back on the eve of the Masters four weeks ago.

"I felt good physically, no issues," the world number one said after his first round. "I just need to get some more rounds in, get some more reps, but I feel like the golf swings in good shape."

It looked as though Grayson, who has never won on the PGA Tour, would take the overnight lead with a flurry of birdies on the back nine, but he dropped a shots on 16 and 18,

Dustin Johnson is back on course

Molinari is seeking his first PGA Tour victory, after winning four times on the European Tour, including the 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

Tied-second-placed Noren played with the precision befitting a world number 12. "I made a few longer birdie putts which I haven't done maybe lately in tournaments," he said.

Power is in his first year as a full-time PGA Tour pro and is on track to secure his card for next year as he seeks his first tour win.

The Waterford golfer is tied sixth, sharing four-under with Ben Martin and Ken Duke.