DJ hits all the right notes
Dustin Johnson fired a six-under-par 66 to end day one of the prestigious Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in a six-way tie for the lead.
The big-hitting American carded six birdies and 12 pars on his morning lap at the Florida venue to share top spot alongside Webb Simpson, Alex Noren, Matt Kuchar, Chesson Hadley and Patrick Cantlay.
But while scoring was excellent due to the lack of wind, some other big names struggled.
This golf course is tough but you can take advantage of it and attack it in certain spots but you've got to be in the fairway.Dustin Johnson
Jordan Spieth found the water three times in his first seven holes to stumble to a 75, former winner Rickie Fowler had to settle for a 74 and Justin Thomas could only manage a 73. Tiger Woods handed in an even-par 72.
Johnson will lose his status as World No.1 if he doesn't finished tied 11th or better this week and he was delighted with his fast start.
"Going round here with no bogeys is very good," he said. "I felt like I drove it pretty well, kept it in play, hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens. Wasn't quite as sharp with my irons as I'd like to be but I rolled it really nicely so made up for it.
"This golf course is tough but you can take advantage of it and attack it in certain spots but you've got to be in the fairway.
"That was a big key for me today and that's what I'm going to have to keep doing the rest of this week if I want to compete for the title on Sunday."
Rory McIlroy outscored Spieth and Thomas in their all-star morning group but felt he hadn't cashed in by shooting a 1-under-71.
"Obviously, you see some guys shooting 6-under par or so and I know it was out there," said the Northern Irishman.
"We did have the opportunity to do that, I just didn't quite take advantage of it like some of the other guys did.
"But it's a long week, the golf course is just going to play firmer and faster and harder as the week goes on. And if I, from here on in, shoot three scores in the 60s, I don't feel like I'll be that far away."
Johnson is 750/1 to win the Players Championship, with Jason Day 500/1, Cantlay 2000/1, Noren 750/1, Henrik Stenson 2000/1, Jon Rahm 4000/1, Kuchar 2000/1 and Justin Rose 2000/1.
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