William McGirt and Mackenzie Hughes don’t have too much in common, but they find themselves tied for the lead at the Players Championship after shooting five-under 67s in the opening round at TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course.
McGirt, 37, is a thicker veteran, one who hits a lot of fairways, ranking third on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy this season. Hughes, 26, is slender, and younger, playing in his rookie season on the tour, and ranks 115th in that same driving-accuracy category. McGirt’s round was an eventful one, featuring three birdies, two eagles and two bogeys, while Hughes went bogey free.
Something they do have in common, though, is that both are in search of the second victory of their tour careers.
Meanwhile, and not surprisingly, Jon Rahm finds himself near the top of the leader board. The young Spaniard shot a bogey-free 68, with birdies on two of his last three holes. Like Hughes, Rahm is also gunning for the second win of the season.
Tied with Rahm at four under are Chez Reavie, Alex Noren and J.B. Holmes. Noren and Holmes showed flashes of brilliance last week at the Wells Fargo Championship, but ultimately faded by Sunday’s final round. Reavie, who has made two straight cuts after missing his previous three, appears to be finding some form.
Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, and Adam Scott all sit just three shots back at two under. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is just behind them after a one-under 71. Scott got as low as six under par on his round, but double bogeyed the 17th and 18th holes to stumble at the finish.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia had a sub-par round, a one-over 73, but he joined an exclusive club. He made a hole-in-one on the famous par-3 17th, becoming just the eighth player to do so.