Four-time major victor McIlroy, a two-time victor at Quail Hollow, carded five bogeys and a double bogey en route to a five-over round.
Lowry comes into the tournament fresh from a solid outing alongside fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington in the unique Zurich Classic two-man team event last week. With so much buzz surrounding the tournament, we went ahead and identified the eight best bets for this week's Wells Fargo Championship with the odds courtesy of BetDSI. He'll tee off at 5.40pm on Thursday.
But it was not such a good day for the big names in the field, albeit Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy all narrowly made the cut.
"I've had ample time to make the adjustment and I haven't", said Woods, whose lone birdie came at his final hole.
Woods announced last week that he would be playing this week at Quail Hollow Golf Club and in next week's Players Championship.
"And then, obviously, under the pressure of Sunday, trying to chase Patrick down, it just never quite clicked for me. If I just putt normal I'm right there".
Woods, healthy again after a spinal fusion more than a year ago, is playing his seventh tournament of the year.
After a tie for 32nd at the Masters - where some poor iron play led to a relatively disappointing result given the pre-tournament optimism - Woods admitted that "the run-up to this event is pretty grueling".
Woods said earlier in the week the greens were "springy" and doubled down on the sentiment Friday. His 64 putts are the most he's taken through two rounds in a non-major in 12 years, according to Golf Channel research.
"I'm feeling good, confident in what I've been doing, and I'm letting it show on the course rather than letting it stress me out", said the 30-year-old, who has one victory on the Tour.
See the clubs Rory McIlroy used to win...
Justin Thomas, who can overtake Dustin Johnson as world No. 1 if he finishes 12th or better, made a mediocre return to the venue where he captured his first Major in last year's PGA Championship.
"Yesterday I was blocking them; today I was pulling them trying to hit them harder. and release the toe of my putter and I just wasn't doing it right". Though it might play a little differently since it is not a major, it is something that can not be ignored. The reason for that lies in his 9 top-10's at Quail Hollow in years past. "I feel like I don't have to play that well and I can still get it around". The field features six of the top 10 in the world ranking, although Thomas is the only player from the top 5 at Quail Hollow. Thomas struggled at The Masters but that should only serve as additional motivation as he attempts to bounce back this week.
The former World No. 1 shot 4-under 71 Friday to vault into contention at Quail Hollow.