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‘New Dad’ Anirban Lahiri has the talent to deal with ‘very tough’ conditions and overcome adverse situations. He overcame tricky conditions at THE PLAYERS Championship on Thursday, battling to two-under-par through 17 holes when darkness halted play.
The greens got dry quicker than he thought, said Lahiri
Lahiri opted to return on Friday morning to complete his opening round where he faces a four-foot putt for par at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Keegan Bradley of the United States share the lead on 65s in the PGA TOUR’s flagship event.
Tommy Fleetwood co-leads with Keegan Bradley
Playing in the final group out in the afternoon session where swirling winds made conditions challenging, Lahiri, the only player in the 144-man field to not complete the first round, sank three birdies against a lone bogey. He has missed the cut at THE PLAYERS on three previous occasions.
It was less than a week ago that the two entered the weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard Bay as the co-leaders. The third round at Bay Hill, however, was not kind to either one. Bradley shot a 75, Fleetwood shot a 76, and they tumbled down the leaderboard.
Fleetwood would rally on Sunday to tie for third, while Bradley went the other way, shooting 78 to finish T-46. Ultimately, it was a lost opportunity for both players – but as they showed in Thursday’s first round at the Stadium Course, neither one had trouble bouncing back.
Tiger Woods produced a fairly innocuous opening nine holes in his opening round at THE PLAYERS Championship before sending his fans on a wild ride with an eventful back nine at TPC Sawgrass.
Woods traded one bogey and birdie on the front side of Pete Dye’s Stadium Course to turn even par but carded just a single par on his final nine holes.
Woods has been battling a neck injury
Five birdies and three bogeys meant the 80-time PGA TOUR winner signed for a 2-under 70 to sit five shots off the pace set by England’s Tommy Fleetwood and fellow American Keegan Bradley.
In his first event since a neck injury kept him from playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, Woods seemed to be moving freely.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Every year during the Players Championship something incredible (or tragic) happens at the infamous island-green par-3 17th hole, and on Thursday Ryan Moore provided the fireworks with arguably the most incredible hole-in-one in tournament history.
There have been a lot of aces at the 17th hole over the years, so why is this one so special? It’s special because Moore’s ball flew directly into the hole without ever touching the green.
How Others Fared
RORY McILROY (67) -- His bogey-free round was his second-lowest opening round in 10 PLAYERS starts (opened with a 66 in 2013).
DUSTIN JOHNSON (69) -- Put together an efficient round despite playing the par 5s in even par. "All in all, it was a really good day," DJ said.
SERGIO GARCIA (69) -- Another solid opening round at TPC Sawgrass was highlighted by a birdie putt at No. 1 from 52 feet, 3 inches -- his longest made putt of the season.
WEBB SIMPSON (70) -- A year after opening with a 66, the defending champ was solid; his only glitch came on the par-4 14th when he struggled with the greenside rough.
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU (70) -- A solid round was marred by a double bogey on the 18th hole (his ninth of the day) when his approach shot from 197 yards landed in the water.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE (70) -- The current FedExCup leader was 3 under through five holes and hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation.
JASON DAY (70) -- Hit 15 of 18 greens but his putter was cold -- just one made putt outside 5 feet.
JUSTIN THOMAS (71) -- A roller-coaster start, as he opened with three straight birdies, then back-to-back bogeys, then another birdie. Suffered a late double at the par-4 sixth when he found the water off the tee.
BROOKS KOEPKA (72) -- Struggled on the front nine, but brought it back with four birdies on the back -- although a bogey at the 18th won't sit well overnight.
FRANCESCO MOLINARI (72) -- Last week's winner at Bay Hill failed to find a hot hand and didn't make any putts outside 6 feet.
PHIL MICKELSON (74) -- Was 2 under through 11 holes until his round unraveled when he four-putted from 25 feet for a triple bogey at the par-3 third.
JUSTIN ROSE (74) -- Went out (off 10th tee) with nine straight pars. Coming back was a bit messy -- a triple at No. 1 and a double at No. 5 mixed in with three birdies.
RICKIE FOWLER (74) -- The 2015 champ opened with a 74 for the second straight year; he missed the cut last year.
JORDAN SPIETH (76) -- Two double bogeys, 30 putts needed, just 5 of 14 fairways -- not a pretty day