Six notable first-round Players Championship stats from Golf World contributing writer Brett Avery, who compiles the Rank and File statistical sections for the magazine's coverage of the major championships and other significant events.
Ian Poulter, whose seven-under-par 65 shared the lead with Martin Laird, ranked in the top 10 following an opening round for the first time in his last 24 PGA Tour starts. Poulter's last top-10 standing after opening-day play came off a five-under 66 at Cog Hill that put him solo third in the 2010 BMW Championship. That week Poulter followed with 72-69-75 and tied for 13th. If Poulter mirrors his recent form during today's second round at TPC Sawgrass' Stadium Course, he will remain in contention in the Players Championship. The last four times Poulter stood in the top 10 after a tour event's first day, he managed to remain in the top 10 in the second round. That includes the 2010 Masters, where Poulter began 68-68 and went from a tie for seventh to the lead.
Adams, making his 75th career tour start, also enters the second round in rarified air. He has not ranked this high following 18 holes since he was leader in consecutive starts in 2010, at Colonial (wound up tied for 27th) and the Byron Nelson (second). Although Adams ranks 104th on tour this year in scoring average before the cut (71.27), he's logged a 70.14 average in second rounds. Adams, who made eight birdies in the first round, has broken par in the second round 11 of 14 tries this season. Only three players have made more starts on tour this year: J.J. Killeen (16), Matt Bettencourt (15) and Sung Kang (15). Adams missed the cut last year in his Players debut (72-76).
3. Here's a tough act to follow. Poulter and Laird marked just the fourth time since the Players moved to TPC Sawgrass in 1983 that only players from outside the United States held or shared the lead. The first three instances were by Sergio Garcia (2008), Adam Scott (2004) and Greg Norman (1994). All three won the tournament. Nick Price also held part of a first-round lead, in 1993 with Kirk Triplett, and went on to win.
Davis Love III (72), the only player in the field who has made the cut in 15 or more Players Championships, is trying to reach his 19th career weekend. If successful, Love would move into a tie for fourth with Nick Price for career Players cuts made behind Tom Kite (23), Tom Watson and Bernhard Langer (21 each). The next-best performers in the field are Ernie Els (74) and Vijay Singh (73), who each have made the cut 14 times. Love also moved to second in most Players starts with 28, joining Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite and trailing only Jay Haas (29).
The two longest streaks in cuts made on tour are in serious danger going into the second round. Steve Stricker, with a tour-leading 49 straight cuts, must improve on his opening 76 while Gary Woodland's 77 threatens his streak of 22 cuts made. Two other players in the top 10 in that stat are on the borderline: Hunter Mahan (16 cuts, first-round 74) and Brandt Snedeker (15 cuts, 76). If Stricker and Woodland both fail, the longest streak likely would be held by Webb Simpson, who began with a 73 in a quest for his 19th consecutive cut.
A total of 54 players, or 37.5 percent of the field, posted sub-par rounds with 27 of them below 70. Only Laird went around the Stadium Course without a bogey. The 54 scores below 72 is the lowest number since 52 were shot in 2009. The field scoring average was 72.373.