PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) For all the hype over Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth playing together, and the constant curiosity over Tiger Woods, one element at The Players Championship didn’t change Thursday. The star was the golf course.
Charley Hoffman had eight birdies in a round that showed the TPC Sawgrass can strike at any time. A triple bogey on his 10th hole turned a great day into a very good one. His 5-under 67 gave him a share of the lead with Hideki Matsuyama, David Hearn and Kevin Na.
McIlroy lived up to his end of the bargain in the feature group with a 69. Spieth went the other direction, racking up five bogeys for a 75 that matched his highest score of the year and left him in danger of missing the cut. Jason Day, who jokingly described himself as the third wheel, had a 69 with a double bogey on the 18th.
Woods’ round featured a tee shot struck so poorly that it went into the water on a par 3 – not on the island green at No. 17, but in a creek some 40 yards short of the green at No. 8. He also put his tee shot into the water on No. 18 for a closing double bogey and a 73.
The Stadium Course at the TPC Sawgrass holds a certain mystique after more than three decades. Even in reasonable conditions – warmth, sunshine and a little wind – no one fared better than a 67.
Martin Kaymer, trying to become the first back-to-back winner at the TPC Sawgrass, opened with a 69.
BEL OMBRE, Mauritius (AP) – Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, South Korea’s Wang Jeung-hun and Spain’s each shot 6-under 65 to share the first-round lead in the inaugural Mauritius Open.
American Daniel Woltman was in the group at 67. The tournament is sanctioned by the European, Asian and Sunshine tours.