Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mackenzie Hughes, William McGirt tied for Players Championship lead

PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Canadian rookie Mackenzie Hughes played bogey-free in his debut at the Players Championship and shot 5-under 67 to share the lead with William McGirt after an opening round Thursday that showed anew that TPC Sawgrass has surprises around every corner.

Few know better than Adam Scott, the 2004 champion, who had a one-shot lead going into the par-3 17th hole.

First, he watched Masters champion Sergio Garcia salvage his poor round by making a hole-in-one at the infamous island green. Scott followed by spinning a shot off the bank and into the water for a double bogey, and he compounded that with another double bogey.

"I played some good golf out there and unfortunately not on the last two," Scott said after settling for 70. "It happens."

Dustin Johnson's first wedge of the day hit the pin, caromed off the green and led to bogey. On a day nothing seemed to go his way, the world's No. 1 player opened with 71. Rory McIlroy went to tap in from 2 feet and missed, and then had to make one twice that long for double bogey on the 10th hole. He shot 73.

Through it all, Hughes was solid. The Players Stadium Course must be easy, huh. Hughes laughed and shook his head. "No. It's very hard."

Sergio's wakeup call

Sergio Garcia thought the loudest cheer he might hear all day would be at the first tee when he was introduced as the Masters champion.

That was before he stood on the 17th tee with a gap wedge in his hand and watched his shot bounce in front of the pin on the island green, land just behind the hole and spin back slightly into the cup.

"The feeling was great," he said.

Garcia was 4 over through six holes to start the tournament and had not made up any ground until a birdie on the 16th, his ace on the 17th and a par save on the 18th for 73.

"I think I wasn't quite in the tournament because of everything that's been going on after the Masters win," he said. "I felt like I was a little bit up in the clouds, and when I woke up, I was 4 over after six."

Rory's back

Rory McIlroy said he needed to drop a few pounds coming off his recent wedding and honeymoon. He also revealed after opening with a 73 that he re-aggravated a rib injury in the build up to this week's championship, which limited his preparation.

McIlroy missed two months this season with the injury.

"I've been very limited hitting golf balls," McIlroy said. " Just aggravated that joint in my back again."

McIlroy said he is resting and managing his back, and will pay more attention to recovery when he's off next week before beginning a busy summer.

Jordan the grounds keeper

Jordan Spieth was so irritated by a poor rake job in the bunker left of the first green that he wanted to document the evidence. So he reached into his bag for his phone and took a picture.

"It was just a bunker that was raked to where it just kind of looked like somebody didn't really care much to do it or were rushing off the green," Spieth said. "And I overreacted probably a bit, but all in all, you just don't see that very often."

Compounding the frustration, Spieth blasted out to 45 feet and three-putted for double bogey. He was never under par the rest of the day and shot 73.

Number of the day

18 Balls in the water at the No. 17 island green in the first round

Mackenzie Hughes, William McGirt tied for Players Championship lead 05/11/17 [Last modified: Thursday, May 11, 2017 10:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  3. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  4. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games

    Minors

    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  5. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.