THE PLAYERS First Round Highlights

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 14: Tommy Fleetwood of England plays his shot from the ninth tee during the first round of The PLAYERS Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 14, 2019 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The 2019 annual tour of TPC Sawgrass is officially underway at THE PLAYERS Championship. Cold and windy conditions wreaked havoc on some of game’s top competitors throughout Thursday. Ultimately the opening day of play belonged to two players who put themselves out ahead of the rest.

The early clubhouse lead was seized by England’s Tommy Fleetwood. The Southport native opened things up with a methodical, bogey free round of 65. Despite a bogey at 13, Keegan Bradley still turned in a leaderboard tying 7-under round thanks to an eagle at the par-5 16th.

With the PLAYERS Championship taking place in March for the first time since 2006, TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach pushed back against some of the best in the game on the PGA Tour. Despite the difficult conditions there were still plenty of low scores, exciting eagle, an albatross and even a crowd roaring hole in one. As expected the unofficial fifth Major of golf gave fans plenty of highlights throughout Thursday’s first round.

Tiger Time

Currently sitting tied for 35th at 2-under Tiger Woods had an up and down day carding four bogeys and six birdies. After taking some time to warm up, his first birdie came at the par-4 7th following a near 16 foot putt for his third shot.

Woods’ back nine was a mix of circles and squares on the scorecard but an emphatic birdie at 13 brought the crowd to a roar once again following a 27-foot birdie putt.

In countless rounds at TPC Sawgrass, Woods has found his fair share of water at the iconic par-3 17th. While he may have flirted with the edge in his opening round, an aggressively dialed in tee shot led to his final birdie of the day.

 

Holing out from anywhere and everywhere

The action kicked off early Thursday as Harry English found the perfect line for only the 5th ever PLAYERS albatross at the par-5 11th.

From just off the green at 16, 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed rolled in a perfect chip for eagle to move to 3-under and a tie for 13th.

His first round may not have gone as planned but Jordan Spieth is always good for a highlight or two even on his worst days. The three time Major winner chipped in from just off the right side of the green for birdie at the par-4 10th.

After heading into his final hole of the day a 2-over Austin Cook didn’t have much to be happy about going into the par-5 9th. Cook quickly turned his frown upside down with an eagle hole out from the greenside bunker to get back to even and give one of the best celebrations of the day.

Close but no cigar

Needing to get up and down from the sand at the par-4 6th, Phil Mickelson not only made par but nearly sank his difficult approach for birdie.

A chance for eagle at the par-5 16th gave Zach Johnson a coast to coast putt for his third shot. The 2007 Masters champion would have to settle for birdie after his eagle opportunity came within a fraction of falling after a near-perfect putt.

With the amount of driveable par-4’s on Tour increasing it’s only a matter of time before another hole in one drops. Unfortunately for the Ponte Vedra local, Tyler Duncan, his tee shot on the par-4 12th just skated by the right side of the hole for the near ace.

Highlight of the Day

Thursday 14 balls found the water on the infamous par-3 island 17th. Luckily for Ryan Moore his ball not only stayed dry but found the bottom of the cup off the tee after hitting the flagstick and dunking in for a hole in one.

 

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