In a day that was full of wide ranging scores, Martin Laird and Ian Poulter are currently tied atop the leaderboard after the first round of the 2012 Players Championship, while many of the top golfers in the world struggled.
In the past few years Poulter has made a name for himself more so with his clothes than with his golf game, but hasn't had too bad of a year in 2012, with two top 10 finishes in six starts. While he has been accurate with the driver for much of the year, his iron game has been very inconsistent along with his putting, but Poulter was able to overcome them with a great round on Thursday at the Players Championship. Ian had eight birdies on the day to go along with only one bogey, and hit nearly 80% of the fairways and greens in regulation on the day. The most important stat for him was his putting, with only 26 putts on the day. If he can stay in that range tomorrow I think he has a good chance of being in contention come the weekend.
Woods on the other hand will just be looking to make the cut on Friday, after shooting a first round score of two over 74. While his driver was the main culprit for his missed cut at last week's Wells Fargo Championship, practically everything was off on day one at The Players Championship. TPC Sawgrass is the sort of course that rewards golfers who can hit a lot of fairways, while penalizing those who do not. Tiger only hit 50% of the fairways and greens on Thursday, and didn't look too good with the putter either. If scores are low again tomorrow (which are expected with good conditions), Woods will have to shoot in the mid to high 60s just to have a chance at playing on the weekend.
One of the more surprising rounds of the day came from Rory McIlroy, who shot an even par 72 for his first round. Coming off of a strong finish at the Wells Fargo Championship, I thought he would come out with a solid round in the 60s but just wasn't able to get any momentum going. As I mentioned about TPC Sawgrass, Rory was T65 in field in driving accuracy at last week's event but was able to finish T5 in greens in regulation; this week he is T57 in driving accuracy and T121 in greens in regulation. There is a big difference in missing fairways at this event as opposed to others, and McIlroy found that out all too well on Thursday. However, I expect him to recover tomorrow and shoot a decent round to put himself back into contention.
Ryan Kekoufski is a scratch golfer who has both played and watched the sport for well over a decade. He covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, and currently resides in Virginia. Follow him on Twitter @RyanKekoufski
- Sports & Recreation
- Ian Poulter
- Tiger Woods
- Players Championship
- Wells Fargo Championship