First Round – PGA Tour – THE PLAYERS Championship – TPC Sawgrass – Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida –
Former World No. 1 Martin Kaymer tied the course record at TPC Sawgrass shooting a 9-under-63 to lead THE PLAYERS championship after 18 holes.
The 29-year-old German managed a front-nine 29 en route to a two-shot advantage over the field at the PGA Tour’s flagship event. Winless since 2011 at the World Golf Championship – HSBC Champions, Kaymer was bogey-free on his round Thursday.
Twenty-five year old American Russell Henley led the morning wave carding a 65 including a double bogey on his scorecard. Henley, 45th in the Official World Golf Ranking, won the Honda Classic in early March.
Henley, who was 33rd on the PGA Tour Money List and 9th in Strokes Gained Putting a season ago, had nine birdies on his round. He led the field in round one in Strokes Gained Putting at TPC Sawgrass. According to www.ladbrokes.com, Henley was a 150-to-1 betting long shot to win this title.
Sang Moon Bae (a 200-1 selection) is alone in third after a 66,while a bevy of eight players are T-4 at 5-under and four back including pre-tournament/expected contenders Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Jordan Spieth.
Both Westwood and Garcia logged Top 10s here last season.
Kaymer has a pair of Top 25s on the PGA Tour since the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, but he has not contended. He led the field Thursday in Greens In Regulation hitting 17 of 18 and was fourth in Proximity to the Hole.
It may be a difficult ask for the German, who won the 2010 PGA Championship, to follow up his second round in similar fashion and continue to lead into the weekend.
Other Golf News:
- Adam Scott’s quest from the No. 1 ranking stalled Thursday with his 77 in round one. He logged three double bogeys – including doubles at No. 17 and 18. He needs a T-16 or better finish to displace the injured Tiger Woods at the top spot.
- The European Tour’s Madeira Islands Open was fogged out of round one on Thursday.
- Kaymer won 10 times during a four-year stretch from 2008 to 2011 ascending to the top ranking in golf. But, he is now more than two years removed from his last victory. He was a 80-1 pick heading into the tournament.
- Phil Mickelson struggled in the opening round and now has to rally to make the weekend cut. Phil’s putting woe continued as he shot 75. He is T-111 heading into Friday.