Players Championship, Day 1
By Torleif Sorenson on 5/9/14


The biggest story from the first round of the Players Championship was Martin Kaymer's 29 on the opening nine (he started the day at #10), which propelled him to a TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course record-tying 63. Only three other golfers have shot 63 there: Fred Couples set the record in 1992 (just prior to his Masters victory), Greg Norman in 1994, and then Roberto Castro just last year.

On example of Kaymer's excellent play came at #2, his eleventh hole of the day. The par-5 2nd hole demands a draw from right-handed players, but Kaymer's natural shot is a fade. He pulled it off, anyway:
"I just told myself, 'You've done it many times before in Augusta.' You need to draw certain shots. That's being brave. If you hit a bad shot? OK, it happens. But at least you tried the shot. And I pulled it off, and I had a good eagle chance. Through those shots you gain confidence."
From there, the 2010 PGA Champion reeled off birdies at 6, 7, 8, and 9. Kaymer's 63 left him two shots ahead of Russell Henley, who shot a very respectable 65 that included a 30 on the second nine at Sawgrass. That tied the record for low round on holes 10 through 18. Sang-Moon Bae of South Korea was third after a 66. A gaggle of golfers was tied for fourth with 67s: Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Jordan Spieth, Gary Woodland, Brian Stuard, and Scott Stallings.

Phil Mickelson, the current Open champion, shot 75. Jason Dufner, the reigning PGA champion, suffered bogeys at 11 and 12, but still shot 69 — as did Masters champion Bubba Watson. Last year's Masters champion, Adam Scott, shot 77.


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