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The opening round of the Players, or, THE PLAYERS Championship is officially underway here at TPC Sawgrass and scoring conditions are great with big names like Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, and Justin Thomas all off to quick starts. In the afternoon wave, Tiger Woods leads the way, and he'll be joined by Patrick Reed and defending champion Webb Simpson on the first tee at 1:27 p.m. Jason Day will tee off 20 minutes later with Tony Finau and Arnold Palmer Invitational winner Francesco Molinari. Just behind them will be Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth, who looks to snap out of a lengthy slump. The three-time major champion has finished no higher than T-35 in seven events this season.
It should be an action-packed day at THE PLAYERS, the fifth (unofficial) major. Keep it right here in our live blog for all the latest updates.
10:46 a.m.: Thomas, Rose, and Schauffele can exhale after all finding the island green safely. At 121 yards and with little wind, this is about as easy as the infamous hole can play. A couple holes behind, Rory McIlroy misses an easy putt to get to three under. Shocking, I know.
10:40 a.m.: We've got a couple water balls from the marquee morning group, but not on the hole you'd expect. Xander Schauffele and Justin Rose each rinse their approach shots on the par-5 16th. After a delay to determine where Schauffele's golf ball crossed, he winds up dropping well back and making bogey to drop back to two under. Rose, however, continues his incredible scrambling day by getting up and down from about 120 yards for a seventh consecutive par.
Meanwhile, the group's third member, Justin Thomas, makes his first par of the day to stay at two under. Onto 17. . .
10:15 a.m.: Justin Thomas' eventful start continues with a birdie on the par-4 15th. Despite pulling his drive into the pine straw, Thomas hit his approach to 20 feet and made the putt to get back to two under. Through six holes, he has yet to record a par. He trails playing partner Xander Schauffele by a shot. The FedEx Cup points leader is currently tied for first with Billy Horschel, Michael Thompson, Byeong Hun An, and Brandin Harkins. For full scores, click here.
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9:55 a.m.: McIlroy makes another birdie, taking advantage of the drivable par-4 12th. McIlroy's fantastic tee shot landed on the back of the green near the hole before skipping over. He got up and down for a second consecutive hole for birdie to get to two under through three holes. Going the other way, however, is Justin Thomas. After birdieing his first three holes, he drops shots on 13 and 14 to fall back to one under.
9:39 a.m.: Rory McIlroy gets up and down from a greenside bunker on the par-5 11th to record his first birdie of the day. Statistically, McIlroy is playing as well as anyone on tour this year, but despite racking up five consecutive top-6 finishes, he's still looking for a first win of 2019. He's also looking for a first win at TPC Sawgrass where he has four missed cuts in nine previous starts, highlighted by a T-6 in 2014.
9:32 a.m.: Justin Thomas has followed up his opening birdie with two more at the 11th and 12th holes, putting him in the solo lead at three under after Howell made bogey at No. 2. He's among a group at two under that includes Bryson DeChambeau, Beau Hossler, Xander Schauffele, Marc Leishman and Billy Horschel.
9:12 a.m.: A wayward drive at the 14th leads to a bogey for Big Hoss, but he's still two under. That's now one off the lead of ATM machine Charles Howell III, who just eagled the par-4 fourth from a fairway bunker to get to three under. Strong start for Chucky three sticks. Up until last year, Sawgrass had given Howell fits throughout his career, his best finish being a T-32 all the way back in 2003. But in 2018 he go into contention by opening with rounds of 68 and 67, eventually finishing in a tie for 17th. Perhaps his fortunes are changing at the tricky Pete Dye track.
8:58 a.m.: There are 13 players already under par just an hour into the opening round, many of them marquee names. Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau and Xander Schauffele all grabbed early birdies at the par-4 10th to get to one under. TWEET
But everybody is trailing Beau Hossler, who birdied his first three holes before making his first par at the par-3 13th. Hossler nearly got his breakthrough victory a year ago at the Houston Open, but Ian Poulter spoiled the party, draining a long birdie putt at the 72nd hole to force a playoff. Poulter went on to win, while Hossler picked up his best finish of the season. He finished the summer strong after that, with a T-2 at the Travelers and a T-6 at the Quicken Loans. This season, Hoss has yet to register a top 10, and he's still searching for an elusive first victory.