2015 Players, Round 1
By Torleif Sorenson on 5/8/15
Plenty of drama and interesting stories emerged from the opening round of the 2015 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.
The goodAmericans Charley Hoffman and Kevin Na fired 67s, along with Canadian David Hearn and Hideki Matsuyama — the Japanese-born star whom this writer pegged as one "dark horse" to win this championship. Only one shot behind that quartet at 68 were a half-dozen Americans: Derek Fathauer, Brendon Todd, Charles Howell III, Troy Merritt, Ben Martin, and well-known fashion plate Billy Horschel.
Fathauer, in his first-ever Players Championship, sank his 130-yard approach at the 4th hole:
World number-one Rory McIlroy was only two shots off the lead, in a group of fourteen players who carded 69. At the 4th hole, the "Holywood Matinee Idol" pulled a Mickelson out of his bag to save par:
Former world number-one Tiger Woods shot 73, but had a few bright spots along the way. He had this 23-footer at the par-4 15th:
...and then tackled the 17th:
The badSome well-known stars did not play well at all on Thursday, including last week's runner-up at the WGC-Match Play, Gary Woodland — who ballooned to a 79. OWGR number-55 Luke Donald shot a disastrous 77. Current Masters champion Jordan Spieth struggled to a 75.
Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell, Jason Dufner, and Matt Luchar all shot 73.
The Brooks Koepka suffered two water balls at the notorious 17th hole on Thursday: