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William McGirt and Mackenzie Hughes both turned in 5-under 67 performances in Round 1 of the Players Championship.

But the four-time major victor then bogeyed the fifth.

"I struggled today", he said. No player has gone all four rounds without a bogey in this tournament. "That about summed up my day - one-hopping it into the flag and I make a bogey".

"Good numbers at a good time, made a good swing at a good time", McGirt said.

On Thursday McGirt eagled Nos. "I've told you guys many, many times it's one of my favorite golf courses we play all year, and for some reason I can see what I want to do", Garcia told reporters. Once you got in the fairway, these pins you can get at if you're in the short grass. "I mean, there are a lot of guys kind of stacked up together". The first came at The RSM Classic in November, where he shot a 9-under 61.

Co-leader Stanley, a one-time PGA Tour victor, was pleased to overcome a poor start.

Former Masters champion Danny Willett has pulled out of the Players Championship midway through the tournament because of a back injury. "Overall it was okay; I can't believe I'm only five off the lead and I can go out tomorrow morning, hopefully post a good score and get myself right back into the tournament".

He entered the week as the second highest-ranked rookie in the FedExCup standings at No. 20.

"It's a huge amount of weight lifted, I can't really explain and put it into words".

"It was just a slight mis-hit and the ball started cutting on the wind".

"I overreacted probably a bit, but all in all, you just don't see that very often", Spieth said.

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The 17th was boom or bust for Blayne Barber, who did well to finish tied for 16th in his PLAYERS debut.

"I had a lot of opportunities over the last few holes".

They will be chasing a total purse of $10.5 million, of which $1.89 million goes to the victor along with 600 FedExCup points.

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen and Francesco Molinari of Italy head a list of 11 players who shot 69 and are two strokes off the lead. Thursday's first round saw Garcia sitting at 4-over after six holes, but he fought back to make the cut with a little help from his ace on No. 17.

Jon Rahm shot his worst round as a pro with an 82 that featured six bogeys and three double bogeys. The tournament has been lost and even won on this hole in past years.

"Two good yardages, two good shots and two good putts", he said after becoming the sixth player to record two eagles on the back nine in the same round at The Players. "So you know, that's where you test yourself because you're playing against the top in the world, and playing major championships".

World No.3 Day, who won the Players by four shots past year, lamented a bad break at the par-3 13th that resulted in a double-bogey five, cruelling his Saturday fightback.

He's looking to become the only player other than Tiger Woods to win the Masters and THE PLAYERS in the same year. Since tournament moved to TPC Sawgrass in 1982, the best opening round by a defending champion is 68 by Craig Perks in 2003.

Haywood had been best man at Willett's wedding, but this week was suppose to be just a one-week partnership given Haywood is working the European Tour full-time in caddying for American David Lipsky. This marked Garcia's second hole-in-one on the PGA Tour.

Garcia was also happy to be within striking distance. There have been five wire-to-wire winners in Players Championship history: Al Geiberger (1975), Australia's Greg Norman (1994), Steve Elkington of Australia (1997), Hal Sutton (2000) and Jason Day of Australia (2016). Everyone who plays the 17th hole enough will take their lumps there at some point.

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