Day 1 of the 2019 Players Championship was fun like never before, even with the transition from May to March. Tommy Fleetwood and Keegan Bradley are in the lead, but the ranking is full of big names and great players. Let's take a look at some of these names as we head towards the second day of play at TPC Sawgrass.
T1. Tommy Fleetwood, Keegan Bradley (-7): The Englishman finished second in the field, from the tee to the green, and put it well enough to cut seven birdies. Here is the kicker, though: through its first nine holes on the easier side of the field (the second nine), Fleetwood was a pawn 1 below. Then he played the first nine of the field in 30 while the field average was over 36. A spectacular closure. Bradley was the opposite. He played the first nine of the field in 31 and in the front in 34. Together, they shot a better ball 60.
T3. Ben An, Brian Harman (-6): If you had An for the n. 1 in the field with the shots obtained by the tee on Thursday's green, come on down. This is a nice duo and would constitute an incredible couple in the late afternoon. Two silent assassins.
T5. Rory McIlroy, Vaughn Taylor, Ryan Moore (-5): The same old story for McIlroy this season. Elite ball hitting, average above average put, top of the charts. Rinse, repeat. Perhaps the most noteworthy part of McIlroy's days was a nasty break he got in his 18th hole (ninth on the field), where his top approach hit an upper drain and carom over the green. He could not go up and down the little bird. He could easily have been a 66.
T8. Brendan Steele, Rory Sabbatini, J.T. Poston, Kyle Stanley, Kevin Kisner (-4): The race for bass Rory is underway after Round 1. I think Sabbatini also has bonus points for having stones to shoot anything below par wearing a T-shirt that looks like a Rorschach test.
Many of the T10s are intriguing as well. The number -3 includes former winners Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar, as well as Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker, Tony Finau, Jon Rahm and Haotong Li. With the numbers 1 and 2 playing as two of the easiest holes on the course, each of these kids could bypass those ahead of them on Friday.
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