May 12 2011
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Relatively benign conditions Thursday morning produced a spate of low numbers during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship.
Nick Watney and Lucas Glover threatened the course record before finishing at 8 under and 7 under, respectively. Calm conditions and a few generous pin positions helped jump start more than a few rounds.
"Normally we get used to playing certain pin positions certain days, but they mixed a few up," Brian Davis said. "There's some easier pins today than normal, but as you can see from the scoring, there are birdies and eagles out there.
"I would say that anybody that shoots 5 , 6 under par is going to be somewhere around the lead at the end of the day."
Davis said the greens had some moisture in them early, and he was able to spin the ball effectively. Two bogeys in his last five holes were a disappointment, but the Englishman, who tied for fifth at THE PLAYERS in 2009, was pleased with the 69 overall.
"Any course suits you when you're playing well, no matter where you play," Davis said. "I do love this course in that most TPCs we play you've got to bomb it. This TPC you've got to bomb it but you've also got to shape the ball right to left, left to right, and obviously that's my game."
Jason Dufner, who joined Davis at 3 under, said the wind began to pick up as the day progressed. It was calm for his first 12 or 13 holes, then approached 10-15 mph as he played his final two or three.
Dufner, who estimated the wind was a one-club wind by the time he finished, said it was a huge advantage to have played in the opening wave.
"Thursday morning is usually the easiest golf course to come play," Dufner said. "So to have those calm conditions and get off to a good start, maybe get ahead of the field just a little bit with a good round.
"You'd kick yourself if you were 3 or 4 over early today for sure."