TPC 2017: Hughes, McGirt Tie For Lead At The Players Championship

The former US PGA champion broke down in tears after withdrawing from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in March, the defending champion having played just six holes of his opening match against Pat Perez.

In fact, after his tee shot made a splash Willett moved to the "drop zone" and proceeded to put his third shot also in the water.

Willett had posted a horror Thursday opening score of a seven-over par 79 and was four-over for his nine holes on day two that included finding water in taking a triple bogey "6" at the famed island-green 17 that he was playing as his eight hole.

He led fellow American J.B. Holmes and Swede Alex Noren by one stroke with half the field back in the clubhouse.

Garcia was 4-over with three holes to play, but birdied No. 16 before making the eighth ace in Players history at No. 17.

Willett's next scheduled start is the BMW PGA Championship, the key event on the European Tour schedule, in two weeks' time. "These greens get pretty crusty and, historically, whenever firm Bermuda greens are crusty to where it's tough to set the putter down, I just struggle with my alignment and it just throws me off". "The win a year ago was huge for my confidence. kind of proved to myself that, hey, I can play golf at the major championship level".

Day left last year's Players Championship as a runaway world number one, but he has not won since, so he had reason to feel half pleased with his performance, if not with the rocky finish.

He has played 26 rounds on the Players Stadium Course dating to his rookie season in 2008 and he has broken 70 only twice.

Dustin Johnson, who has three wins and a runner-up in his last four starts, took 31 putts and shot a 1-under 71. Especially like you go to No. 2, let's say you hit a good shot into 2, and it lands four, five feet off the right side of the green, off the putting surface, not the slope, but it hits that slope and it shoots it over there right and you got nothing.

"I've played here 25 years, so it's not like that one round was going to make a big difference", Mickelson said.

Golfing superstar Rory McIlroy told reporters he aggravated a back injury after he shot an opening-round 73 on Thursday at the Players Championship, according to's Jason Sobel.

"I mean it was definitely more the user of the equipment than the equipment today".

Hughes, meanwhile, became the first player since Jordan Spieth in 2014 to go bogey-free in his first round at the tournament.

"I was a little rusty out there", McIlroy said.

"I just like the golf course". Couple days past year, Saturday especially, seemed like if I hit a shot it ended up in the worst possible place where you couldn't finish if you gave me a bucket and six hours to do it.

  • Julie Sanders