Vaccine Rory McIlroy got off to a terrible start Players Championship After an opening round on TPC Sawgrass with an over-equal 76, he was 12 shots behind the early lead.
The Northern Irishman was the only man in the marquee group for the first two rounds. Jon Rahm And Scottie SchefflerThe two players ahead in the world rankings, both finished below average.
However, only Scheffler could have been happy with the under-68 four – Rahm finished one under – but that was still four behind first lead Chad Ramey, who was in the second year. PGA Tour Professional and Players debutant, 64 of whom are just one less than equaling the course record.
Two-time big winner Collin Morikawa It was another that showed the desperate lap of five birds and that low scoring was possible as an eagle put him one step behind.
However, McIlroy was unable to enjoy the same conditions as he started with a double bogey six and finished with three more bogeys and only two birds in between.
Even when he managed to position himself on his seventh hole, par-five 16 by casting some magic from under the trees, the eagle took three hits to squander his opportunity.
The Northern Irish struggled to get off the tee, hitting just six out of 14 fairways which caused him problems and faced a real battle to stay in the tournament on Friday.
“You have four very obtainable par-fives and then you have a few other holes, specifically four and 12, so you have six really obtainable holes; 2019 champion McIlroy said, “He must be birding on those.”
“I feel like it’s a punishment for being rude to me for a long time. I think you have to go back to when the tournament was played in May, when we were in Bermuda, for it to be so punitive.
“Three hits at 16 were probably what stopped any momentum.
“I got a really good shot of the pine straw in there and didn’t take advantage of it, and it was hard to get it back from there after bogeying one and three.”
World number two Scheffler, who finished his last four pits with three birdies, insisted he wasn’t in the mindset of leaving his playing partners behind and said his quest to reclaim the top spot is a second away from a win this week.
“I felt like I didn’t have my best stuff. “I did a lot of splits in the front nine but I’m proud of how I finished.”
“I just kept moving forward and luckily saw some kicks come in.
“I don’t want to go back to number one by finishing second in this tournament, the goal is to go out and try to win it.”
Rahm’s bird shot came out of his mouth on the ninth, final hole, and he felt it was the sign of his round.
The Spanish driver said: “On a day like this, it was like a slap to my face.
“I hit a lot of pops and kept burning the edges to go for a pop that looked like it was going in. As are. This is golf.
Ramey, 30, of Mississippi, who had achieved a single PGA Tour win in his first season a year ago, made six birdies in his first 11 holes, but eventually landed his foot in the par-five 16th and then the famous 17th to take the absolute lead.
Morikawa missed a 1.80 in the ninth lap, the last to join Ramey, but was happy with his lap.
“Last week I lost myself, I didn’t know where the ball was going, and I think this score showed that I knew where the ball was going, and that gave me a lot of freedom to play golf,” he told Sky Sports.
American Hayden Buckley has become only the 10th player since 1991 to enter a hole in Sawgrass’s penultimate 125-yard hole – hitting a wedge beyond the pin and returning him to the cup.
However, Min Woo Lee, who had nine back cramps, had a completely different experience in the pit when he made his tournament debut.
He came in holding the lead at six, but his tee shot into the lake surrounding the green and only managed to escape the relegation zone with bogey grace with a brilliant shot.
The Aussie then flirted with the water at the end, eventually losing a 10-foot lead for equal, dropping to four.
England’s Justin Rose escaped bogeying in his second hole – his only shot down – to score three in 69, while 2022 champion Justin Thomas moved up to two in second place instead of eagle.