PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Take advantage of early to late tee times at The Players Championship.
That was the theme of Thursday’s rain-soaked, weather-affected opening round at TPC Sawgrass, where Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge took an early lead with 6-under par 66s.
Kramer Hickok, Joaquin Niemann, Keith Mitchell and Anirban Lahiri are a shot behind after firing 67s. Brian Harman, Sam Burns and Abraham Ancer are two shots back at 4-under par.
Those were the lucky ones as they finished their respective rounds while many of the players have to complete the first round on Friday.
A total of 66 players from the 144 in the field completed their round. Six players from the early side of the draw did not finish, meaning they will return at 7:15am on Friday to play a hole or two before being given the rest of the day off. Twelve players didn’t even hit a tee shot.
There’s a lot of catching up to do on Friday and the weather forecast doesn’t look like it’s going to play along. At this point, a Monday close is quite possible.
Fleetwood called it “a great first day” for himself, saying, “I’m thrilled to be a part of that.”
His performance was somewhat surprising considering Fleetwood almost didn’t get into the field as his world rankings were below the required top 50. He went into the week at No. 50.
“Close enough,” he joked. “I didn’t play well. If you don’t play very well, especially out here, the level is so, so high and it’s getting higher and higher, if you get off the pace and lack confidence the game becomes very, very difficult.”
Harold Varner played very well until he got to the par 3 17, the famous island hole. He was 7-under par at this point, 5-under on the back nine and had a two-shot lead.
He then slammed his tee shot in the water – he was the only player to do so all day among the 69 tee shots – and took a triple bogey to drop to 4-under, which followed a bogey on 18 fell on 3-under.
“It’s a game, that’s why we play it,” Varner argued afterwards. “Nobody’s going to die out there. [I was] was just between the thugs and didn’t execute the shot.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/10/tommy-fleetwood-tom-hoge-tied-for-lead-at-rain-soaked-players/ Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge topped the list of wet players