PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – March or Could, there isn’t a scarcity of pleasure at The Gamers Championship.
Tiger Woods made just one par on the again 9 Thursday, revving up the gang with 5 birdies, solely to sluggish his cost with three errors.
Emiliano Grillo hit the pin on the island-green 17th and the ball almost bounced into the water. One group later, Ryan Moore heard the ”clink” of ball hitting pin on the fly and heard solely cheers for the ninth hole-in-one on the 17th at TPC Sawgrass.
Harris English had an albatross 2. Kiradech Aphibarnrat had an 84.
There have been 23 eagles. Fifty gamers had a double bogey or worse.
When the day ended, Keegan Bradley and Tommy Fleetwood went completely different routes to achieve the identical rating and share the lead at 7-under 65.
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Bradley received off to a quick begin and had three putts for eagle, making one among them. Fleetwood had an enormous end with three straight birdie putts of 15 ft or longer.
”If you happen to like golf, you must like this golf course, actually,” Fleetwood stated. ”It is nearly as honest as you are going to get a check. If you happen to hit it nicely like I did at the moment, you are going to have possibilities and you’ll shoot a rating, and persons are taking pictures scores. However it’s also possible to get it the opposite manner, as quickly as you begin struggling and begin going the opposite manner, it could simply go in opposition to you. It is a tremendous course for that.”
Woods hit a shot off a spectator’s ankle on the primary gap, clipped a tree off the tee on the second gap, managed to get by means of the entrance 9, after which thought he may be capable of take benefit late within the afternoon because the wind started to die.
He did, after which he did not.
A birdie was adopted by a ball within the water on the par-5 11th for a bogey. Two birdies had been adopted by a shot within the rough-covered mounds. Two extra birdies had been adopted by a missed par putt from four ft. It added to a 70, the 17th time in 18 begins at The Gamers he failed to interrupt 70. The exception was 2013, when he final received.
”I felt like I might have gotten one thing within the 60s at the moment and received off to not really the perfect of begins at the moment,” Woods stated. ”I hit some unhealthy pictures early, rectified that, made just a few changes, after which went about my enterprise. After which the again 9, there’s 9 holes on the again 9, made one par. In order that was fascinating.”
The transfer from Could after 11 years to its conventional March spot on the calendar introduced inexperienced, softer circumstances and extra wind than regular, although it was out of the standard Could path. With the rye overseed making the reasonable tough extra predictable, gamers took purpose.
Fleetwood had just one birdie on the marginally simpler again 9, and completed with birdie putts from 15 ft, 30 ft and 18 ft.
”You get on a run like 7, eight, 9, and it feels nice after that,” Fleetwood stated. ”Simply one among them would really feel like a fantastic spherical, so three of them … I am going to take it.”
Byeong Hun An and Brian Harman had been at 66, whereas Rory McIlroy additionally performed bogey-free for a 67. He was in a bunch with Moore, who used a 54-degree wedge for his ace on the 17th.
”The group proper earlier than me, we had been strolling up 16 … I feel it was Grillo hit the pin about 2 inches above the cup and virtually went again within the water,” Moore stated. ”I heard mine clink and I used to be simply ready to go see the place the ball went. After which no ball confirmed up.”
Additionally at 67 was Vaughn Taylor, who should love the transfer again to March. Taylor is amongst 23 gamers who’ve competed on the Stadium Gamers Course in each months. He tied for eighth the final time it was in March in 2006. Within the eight instances he performed in Could, he by no means made the minimize.
Bradley, who every week in the past shared the 36-hole lead with Fleetwood at Bay Hill, has just one high 10 in his eight journeys to TPC Sawgrass.
”Early in my profession, I felt so uncomfortable on this course. I actually did not play nicely right here,” Bradley stated. ”It did not actually take pleasure in … it simply wasn’t a great match for me. After which this yr, I actually benefit from the completely different circumstances that we’re enjoying in. I just like the tough higher, and I feel it is a good time of yr to play right here.”
McIlroy was amongst those that authorised of the calendar change. This was solely the third time in 10 begins at The Gamers he broke 70 within the first spherical.
”I feel the course during the last 10 years … it hasn’t lent itself to aggressive play,” McIlroy stated. ”It is type of place and irons off the tee and actually making an attempt to plot your manner across the golf course. I hit drivers on holes at the moment that I’d by no means have hit driver the previous couple of years.
”I do not know if the course is simpler or not,” he stated. ”We’ll see what the stroke common is on the finish of the day. However as a result of I feel it is enjoying longer, it will play longer for many of the guys, and I feel it ought to all even out. However I positively just like the golf course the way in which it’s in March.”