Holmes started the day one shot off the lead, and he opened with a nondescript run of 10 straight pars.
William McGirt and PGA Tour rookie Mackenzie Hughes share the opening round lead at -5, 67. The Ryder Cup stalwart made the most of the opportunity with the only bogey-free round of the day, and even though he had just one birdie, that 71 was enough to give him a serious chance.
Sergio Garcia is one of the main threats.
All eyes were on world number one Dustin Johnson, defending champion Jason Day and two-time major victor Jordan Spieth at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday. It also kept him in contention to joining Tiger Woods (2001) as the only player in 44 years to win both tournaments. “I mean, that’s how it is out here”, Holmes said.
Johnson and McIlroy at least are still in the game. He chalked that up to not being able to handle this strand of grass when it gets firm and crusty.
When they stood on the 16th tee, Scott was 10 shots ahead of Garcia. He has a 2-year-old daughter, with Swedish wife Marie expecting their second child in August. The weekend’s going to play tough. “But there’s so many unknowns because we don’t even know, unless you get an image taken of it and you know exactly what’s going on you don’t know”.
Yes, there were plenty of those.
England’s Ian Poulter was a shot further back with three holes to play as he looked to make the most of retaining his PGA Tour card after fellow professional Brian Gay alerted officials to a discrepancy in the points structure used for players competing on major medical extensions. “Made a few shots harder than it needed to be”.
Rather than grind his way through practice rounds at TPC Sawgrass, Phil Mickelson opted to tee it up sight unseen in the first round on Thursday. “It’s simple. When we get to the Masters next year, they’re going to take it away, so I think I’m going to hold on to it as long as I can for this year”. Mike Tirico will host NBC’s golf coverage, with Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller perched in the 18th hole tower. 11 and 16. In four prior starts at TPC Sawgrass, McGirt’s only other sub-70 round was a 7-under 65 in the second-round a year ago. Fowler also shot 70. Because of that I started a little bit – obviously the hole-in-one helped, helped a lot, and I said that when we finished the first round it was important to make it a decent round, after being 4-over after 6.
“Adam’s shot wasn’t that bad”. That still doesn’t change the nature of the TPC Sawgrass, which can penalize a slight miss with a big number. In fact, he was overheard to tell his caddie and brother Austin that his strategy at the new drivable, par 4, 12th hole will likely be a 4-iron and a 60 degree wedge.
“I’m just trying to gain some confidence, get back to working on the right things, doing the right things off the course that will hopefully produce the results on the course”, Day added. But while he’s never won a tournament the magnitude of the Players, the two-time Ryder Cupper is feeling good about what he’s accomplished and where he stands heading into Sunday.