Thursday's Birdies and Bogeys
Who were the first round winners and losers at TPC Sawgrass? It's time to take a closer look with another edition of birdies and bogeys.
May 07, 2014
Birdie: Martin Kaymer
It was nice to see Martin Kaymer shoot a course record-tying 63 on Thursday. Since his victory at the 2010 PGA Championship and his rise to World No. 1 not long after, it's been a long, hard slog for the German, but it seems he might finally be back. Kaymer has finished T-31, T-23 and T-18 in his last three PGA Tour starts, and his 29 on the front nine made him the first player ever to break 30 over nine holes at the Players.-- Luke Kerr-DineenTwitter: @LukeKerrDineen
Bogey: Adam Scott
OK, try explaining this one. On a day when nearly half of the 144-man field broke par, the No. 2-ranked Scott only beat four other players with his 77. Scott is one of four players with a chance to take the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking this week, but he's going to have to get really hot to get the needed T-16. In a weird twist, Scott would have ensured being No. 1 if he had stayed home this week. Another round like this on Friday and he might wish he had. -- Alex MyersTwitter: @AlexMyers3
Birdie: Jordan Spieth
Wait, is Jordan Spieth the new Steve Stricker? In 13 starts this season, Spieth has 10 top 25s -- just three less than he had in 23 events last year -- and five top 5s. He'll obviously want to convert some of those into victories, especially after his Masters disappointment, but his five-under 67 on Thursday has already put him in a great position to do just that -- and almost assured another top 25. -- L.K.D.
Bogey: J.B. Holmes
Given the emotional nature of his victory last weekend at the Wells Fargo Championship, winning for the first time since undergoing brain surgery in 2011, expecting Holmes to maintain a stellar level might have been asking a lot. Even so, he had it going at two under par through his first 13 holes at TPC Sawgrass, only to stumble home as he closed his round on the front nine double bogey/bogey/bogey/par/double bogey. His four-over 76, when much of the field was in red numbers, leaves him a lot of ground to make up if he hopes to avoid missing his first cut in nine starts. -- Ryan HerringtonTwitter: @GWcampusinsider
Birdie: Russell Henley
How do you make a double bogey and still shoot 65 at TPC Sawgrass? By bouncing back to match the course record for the lowest back-nine score with a 30. Not surprisingly, Henley's opening 65 came largely on the strength of leading the field in strokes gained/putting. If he stays in the zone on the greens, the other players on the leader board could be in trouble. Henley only has two top-five finishes in 42 career PGA Tour events, but both of those were wins. -- A.M.
Bogey: Patrick Reed
While Jordan Spieth is making himself comfortable on golf's biggest stages, the man who dubbed himself a "top five player" earlier this year has been conspicuously absent. Patrick Reed missed the cut at his first major, the 2014 Masters, and seems to be heading down the same track at his first Players after an opening round 74 in easy conditions. The course may not be tailor-made for him, but it's hard not to expect more from Reed. -- L.K.D.
Birdie: Lee Westwood
He was in the first group off the first tee and took advantage of benign morning conditions to shoot a bogey-free 67, missing just two fairways along the way. The last time the Englishman shot a 67 in the opening round of the Players was 2010, when he went on to finish T-4, one of his four top-10 showings in 11 starts at TPC Sawgrass. In his last three appearances at the Players, Westwood has backed up an under-par first round with an even better under-par second round (69-66 in 2013; 71-70 in 2012; 67-65 in 2010). -- R.H.
Bogey: Phil Mickelson
Coming off a disappointing Sunday at the Wells Fargo Championship, Mickelson played just as poorly at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday. It took him 13 holes to make his first birdie and then he bogeyed three of the next four holes to shoot 75. Incredibly, Mickelson doesn't have a top-10 finish in 11 PGA Tour starts in 2013-14. At this point, he'd do well just to make it to the weekend, especially at an event where his lone Players title in 2007 was also the last time he finished better than T-17. -- A.M.
Birdie: Sergio Garcia
Last year's tragic figure at TPC Sawgrass showed no ill effects from that Sunday meltdown. Garcia, the 2008 Players champ, got to six under through 13 holes before settling for 67 in his first competitive round in nearly a month. Afterward, he gave a cheerful press conference -- with his girlfriend, Katharina Boehm, watching from the front row -- that touched on everything from badminton to looking forward to having kids. Sergio in contention at TPC Sawgrass is nothing new, but the Spaniard sounding this cheerful seems different. We'll have to wait to see what that means for the rest of the field. -- A.M.