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THE PLAYERS Championship @ TPC Sawgrass · Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

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Ian Poulter and Martin Laird are at the top of the leaderboard at the Players Championship after round one of the tournament at        TPC Sawgrass, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Ian and Martin both had opening rounds of -7 under par 65, and lead the field by just one shot. Blake Adams is the player who is one shot off the lead with his -6 under par round of 66.

Ian said of his round today;

“Got off to a nice start really. Hit a nice shot into the first and had a great look there. Two putts at the second for birdie. Hit a lovely sand iron, which was probably a millimeter from dropping on four, for eagle. It just didn’t seem to want to go in. So I had to tap it in. Soft bogey for me, middle of the fairway on seven. Pulled an 8-iron left and really had no shot. So that was a soft bogey. And then from 9, I had nine single putts, I didn’t realize, until someone just told me.  It was a very, very good round of golf. That’s definitely probably in the top 10 of the rounds of golf I’ve ever played. To turn around and say, that you’re going to walk off seven-under par a little bit disappointed, but if I look at the chances I had on the front nine, that could have easily been a few more. I birdied 9, 10,11, 12. All of those were decent chances, putts you would expect to hole. And had a nice birdie on 16 and 17.”

Martin was very happy with his bogey free first round effort;

” Obviously very happy with my round today. You know, going bogey-free anywhere is good, but around this golf course it feels extremely satisfying. Really the key to my round today was the putter. I putted really well. I had a few par saves that I made, but chipped the ball really well, too, which is really important around here because the greens are so small; if the wind picks up a little bit you’re going to miss some greens. Real solid day, and any time I hit a good shot, I feel like I made the putt for birdie, which is always nice when you have one of those days.”

Martin had just  had 12 putts on the front and the back nines.

Blake Adams had nine straight birdies at the start of his round;

Obviously any time you finish on nine with five straight birdies, it’s a good day. I was fortunate to get out early. Had perfect greens; I was the first group out. A little wind until about halfway through the front nine or whatever, and you know, just kind of rode the momentum of those five birdies to the back side. I was obviously trying to make more birdies on the back side, but you know, finished the way I finished, signed my card and here I am.”

The Big names did not have such an easy time of it.

Major winner Padraig Harrington was the best of them with a -3 under par round of 69. Lee Westwood continued his trend of starting slowly with a first round score of -1 under par, 71, the same score as Phil Mickleson.

Lee rued all those missed chances;

It was a bit tricky out there. The wind felt like it was switching a little bit. It was tough to club. The most disappointing thing about the day was only shooting 1-under having made seven birdies. Played really nicely. Birdied all the par 5s which you need to do around this golf course. Hit the ball well. Semi-sort of pleased with the day, really. Just a few too many mistakes. If I can eradicate those, then I should have a chance over the weekend.”

Phil is still full of confidence after -1 under round;

” I played really well today. So it was one of those days where I probably didn’t get the score out of it that I should have, but I played really well, and have a lot of confidence heading into tomorrow that when we see a little bit different course, a little bit more receptive greens, I think that I’ll be able to turn that 1 under into something quite a bit lower.”

On even are last weeks winner Rickie Fowler, Luke Donald and world number one Rory McIlroy.

Still struggling are Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, who both had +2 first rounds of 74, and will need to do some work tomorrow to male the cut.

Tiger did not have any excuses;

“It wasn’t certainly the most positive start. Any kind of momentum that I would build, I would shoot myself in the foot on the very next hole. Just one of those days.”

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