Sergio Garcia's putter didn't desert him in the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship today. He maintained his reputation for being one of the, if not the best, ball strikers on tour by nailing 71% of the fairways and hitting 89% of the greens in regulation. Put that together with 29 putts and you have a 66 and a two shot lead over Paul Goydos and Kenny Perry, both at -4. One more shot back is a five way tie for 3rd with resurgent Steve Elkington, Niclas Fasth, former Open Championship winner Todd Hamilton, peacock imitator Ian Poulter, and Heath, "Not the Candy Bar", Slocum. One round doesn't a championship make, but I'm sure Sergio must feel some relief to be able to capitalize on his tee to green play. Too early here to make assumptions and see trends, so tomorrow will separate some wheat from chaff.
Some notables and scores from favorites we mentioned yesterday. Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson locked at -2. Both are in great shape. Also at -2 are Anthony Kim and Jose Maria Olazabal. Nice to see Ollie coming around after a spate of injuries. Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els are glued together at even par. Jim Furyk's at +2. Average Golfer's pick Adam Scott and and course regular Vijay Singh are knotted at +3 needing 31 and 32 putts respectively to complete their rounds. Both those boys at nine shots off the lead need to go low on Friday to hang around for the weekend.
In the "What the hell happened to my golf game" category are Justin Rose at +6, K.J. Choi at +7 and Chucky Three Sticks at +7.
Tomorrow divides the pretenders from the contenders. Should at least be interesting.