Ian Poulter and Martin Laird both shot opening 7-under 65s to share the Players Championship lead after the first round of the Players Championship.
American Blake Adams’ 6-under 66 help him to third place on his own, while Kevin Na and the in-form Ben Crane another shot behind sharing fourth.
World No 1 Rory McIlroy struggled to a level-par 72 after finding the water on the famous island green par-three 17th, but he didn’t suffer nearly as much Tiger Woods who is in danger of missing the two consecutive PGA Tour cuts for the first time in his career as a professional after shooting 74 in the opening round.
Scottish Laird was the only player in the field to finish his round bogey-free.
“Any time you go around this golf course bogey-free is obviously a very good day,” said Laird.
“I missed a few greens out there from good spots in the middle of the fairways but managed to scramble really well and chipped them up close enough … but the key was the putter and any time I had a chance for birdie, I rolled it in.”
Poulter’s putter was red-hot as he managed nine single putt holes on his way to a share of the lead.
“It was a very, very good round of golf. That’s definitely in the top 10 of the rounds of golf I’ve ever played,” he said.
Brendon de Jonge shot a 3-under 69 to share 17th place, Tim Clark and Louis Oosthuizen are two shots behind him after shooting a pair of 71s, while Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman – like McIlroy, Luke Donald, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk and Alvaro Quiro – shot level par.
Ernie Els limped to a disappointing 74 and Rory Sabbatini has his work cut out for him in the second round as he shot 76 in the first round.