PLAYERS Championship: Webb Simpson cruising, ties course record

South Korea's Kim Si Woo plays a shot during a recent tournament

South Korea's Kim Si Woo plays a shot during a recent tournament

Even with that double bogey, Simpson tied the Stadium Course record with a 9-under 63 and had a five-shot lead after 36 holes, the largest in the 45 years of this tournament. But there have been moments.

However, he allowed too much break with his 15-footer for birdie and settled for a 65 - the same score posted by Spieth earlier - with both eight under for the tournament and seven shots behind halfway leader Webb Simpson, who was still over an hour and a half away from his tee time when Woods holed out at 18. No, Woods did not have a great day driving the golf ball, but on that particular hole, he hit one of the prettiest little draws you'll ever see. "When that long putt on the 15 went in, I just started leaving", Simpson said. "We're all playing from basically the same spots off the tees with our approach shots".

It's a phrase that likely won't make it into promotional materials for The Players Championship anytime soon.

"He went through a tough time with injury and then he had a couple other things happen in his life that I think were quite trying for him", McIlroy said.

Johnson's position at the top of the rankings, which he has held since February past year, is under threat from Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Rose.

Madison's Steve Stricker had five birdies and two bogeys in his round of 69.

"It was just a fun day and it's rare, as a golfer, when everything comes together".

As well as winning four major titles, the World Number 8 has claimed two World Golf Championship events and four FedEx Cup play-off tournaments, with his victory in the 2016 Tour Championship giving him the overall title and 10million U.S. dollars bonus. I definitely want to stay there, but if someone passes me it's not going to change anything, I'm still going to go back the next week and try to get it back.

Woods, 42, is competing in the Players for the first time since 2015 and has never missed the cut in 16 previous appearances, although he withdrew twice.

Spain's Rahm is four under, while American three-time major victor Spieth struggled to a three-over 75. I started playing a lot better and have rolled with it.

"We would all like to be grinding around the lead, but sometimes that's not the case and you've got to get around the cut line", said Spieth, who needed every bit of a second-round 68 to sneak into the weekend at 1 under.

"It's a bonus if they drop, and I think that if you gave me another hundred shots I wouldn't get them in the hole from there, so that was nice". "I didn't make many birdies". Thomas is tied for 86th after one round of play, shooting a 1-over par 73 in the first round.

Martin Laird of Scotland also finished the opening day level, two shots ahead of compatriot Russell Knox.

Day's countryman Marc Leishman was two shots back at one under after a bogey at the hard par-four 18th gave the Victorian a 71.

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