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Round 1 review: THE PLAYERS Championship

3 Min Read


    Written by Staff @PGATOUR

    A quick look at Thursday’s first round at THE PLAYERS Championship.


    Chad Ramey didn’t look like a PLAYERS Championship rookie on Thursday as he cruised around TPC Sawgrass in a flawless 8-under 64 to take the lead in the suspended first round. The 30-year-old from Mississippi, who won the 2022 Corales Puntacana Championship, birdied six of his first 11 holes to sprint out of the blocks, then birdied Nos. 16 and 17. He’s one shot ahead of Collin Morikawa (65).

    “Not easy at all,” said Ramey, who started the week ranked 174th in the FedExCup. “I might have made it look that way but it wasn't easy at all. It was fun, first time to shoot a score on such an iconic course like this. You can't ask for any more.”

    Ramey led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting, gaining more than five strokes on the greens. He has missed the cut in nine of 14 starts this season and does not have a top-25 finish but Thursday he was the best player on TOUR. His 64 was one shot off the course record at TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course.


    Morikawa’s Promising Start: Collin Morikawa came to TPC Sawgrass a few days earlier than anticipated after missing the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Morikawa used the weekend to focus on his full swing. He spent several hours over the weekend hitting balls at TPC Sawgrass’ practice facility and had an epiphany that has him full of optimism. It led to Morikawa shooting 65 on Thursday, his lowest career score at TPC Sawgrass. He hit 15 greens and led the field by gaining more than 3.8 strokes with his approach play. “I'm back to playing how I used to. I'm trying to enjoy it,” he said. “What I found earlier this week, my swing hasn't looked this good probably since 2019 when I first came out. I played very well (in) 2020, 2021, but position-wise I just love where I'm at right now.”

    Buckley Makes History: Hayden Buckley, 27, made a hole-in-one on the 17th hole early Thursday morning, his second career ace on the PGA TOUR. The crowd erupted and Buckley threw his hat in the air in celebration. It was the 40th ace in championship history and the 11th at 17. He then made birdie on the 18th hole, making him the only player in PLAYERS history to go 1-3 on 17 and 18. It was part of a roller-coaster round that saw Buckley reach 5 under par after a birdie on the 10th hole. He signed for 73, however, after making double bogey on two of his last four holes. Still, he’ll never forget his tee shot on 17.

    Rory Has Work to Do: Not much went right for the world No. 3 and 2019 PLAYERS champion on Thursday. After a double bogey to start, he made birdie on his second hole and felt like he was able to get back into the round on the par-5 16th hole (his seventh of the day), but he three-putted for par. He faces a steep climb to make the cut, let alone get into contention. He missed the cut here in 2021, and tied for 33rd last year.

    Rose’s Biggest Fan: A beautiful story about Justin Rose meeting Mike Walker, a 77-year-old fan with Alzheimer’s, who traveled from England just to meet him. So much focus is what happens in the competition on the golf course, but this shows that great things happen off of it too. “Yeah, obviously it gives you kind of, I guess, a bigger perspective … when he's going through some maybe tough health challenges,” Rose said. “For people who are still kind of making each day count and living in the moment and still getting joy out of the small things in life, whenever you have a meeting like that, it hits home. Certain things that are lessons to us all.”


    Scottie Scheffler (68): Nine straight pars to open, then made five birdies on the last nine holes, including three of the last four.

    Jordan Spieth (69): Typical Spieth round that included brilliant displays of a short game. Birdies at Nos. 10-12 really got him rolling.

    Jon Rahm (71): Two birdies and one bogey in an otherwise uneventful round.

    Patrick Cantlay (72): Made four birdies and four bogeys, but he was 3 under after 11 holes.

    Rickie Fowler (72): The 2015 PLAYER champion doubled his 10th hole to get to 3 over but made birdie on three of the last four to salvage the round.

    Adam Scott (72): The 2004 PLAYERS champion was 2 under after nine holes, including birdie on 17, but made double bogey on the par-4 first hole, his 10th of the day.

    Justin Thomas (73): Eagled the second hole but gave it all back with a bizarre double on the fourth hole. His putting held him back immensely as he lost nearly 2.5 strokes on the greens.

    Rory McIlroy (76): Made double bogey on the first hole and attempted to catch up the rest of the day, which didn’t happen.

    Webb Simpson (76): The 2018 PLAYERS champion only made one birdie all day.


    10: The number of strokes it took Aaron Wise to complete the 18th hole after hitting three balls in the water off the tee. He was 1 over par standing on the 17th tee and hit one in the water there but made bogey. He shot 80. Andre Stolz made 11 on 18 during the second round in 2005.

    16: The number of golf balls that found the water on the iconic par-3 17th hole.

    21: The number of players still left on the course when play was suspended because of darkness. The round will resume Friday at 7:40 a.m. and the second round will begin as scheduled.

    363: The distance of Cameron Young’s drive on No. 9, the longest hit on any hole Thursday. Young birdied the par-5 but not in a conventional manner. He had to get up and down from 136 yards after his tee shot sailed left into the trees.


    Strokes gained leaders: Off-the-tee: Taylor Pendrith, +2.83 Tee-to-green: Collin Morikawa, +6.91 Approach-the-Green: Collin Morikawa, +4.22 Around-the-Green: Brendon Todd, +3.04 Putting: Chad Ramey, +5.78 Total: Chad Ramey, +8.73

    Easiest hole: The par-5 16th hole was the easiest hole, playing to a stroke average of 4.50

    Hardest hole: Two holes later, the par-4 18th hole was the most difficult hole of the first round, playing to a stroke average of 4.36. Wise’s 10 late in the day pushed it by the par-3 eighth hole, which was the most difficult hole for much of the round. It played .34 strokes over par.


    Hayden Buckley makes a hole-in-one No. 17 at THE PLAYERS