Fleetwood shares Sawgrass lead

15 March 2019 20:30:53 GMTPlus11

England's Tommy Fleetwood shot a superb 7-under-par 65 to end the first round of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in a tie for top spot with Keegan Bradley.

The duo are a shot clear of Byeong Hun An and Brian Harman while Rory McIlroy is in a three-man group at 5-under.

Fleetwood, who started from the 10th tee, shot his bogey-free 65 in the morning session at the famed Pete Dye layout in Florida. He made just a single birdie on his opening nine before splashing six coming home including a trio of par breakers at 7, 8 and 9.

"If you like golf, you should like this golf course, really," Fleetwood said.

"It's just about as fair as you're going to get a test. If you hit it well like I did today, you're going to have chances and you can shoot a score, and people are shooting scores.

"But you can also get it the other way. As soon as you start struggling and start going the other way, it can easily go against you.

"I played really well all day apart from, I hit a poor tee-shot on 14 and got away with it and then at the par five I hit a poor second and was getting a bit frustrated because I was getting a lot of chances from 15 foot and didn't make any and then it just shows if you stay patient then things can happen.

"I've played well here in the past and driving well is key and that's been a strength for me."

Fleetwood is coming off a third place at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational while he was tied seventh in this event last year.

Of the other big names, Tiger Woods and defending champion Webb Simpson both carded 2-under 70s while World No.1 Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia went one better with 69s.

Jordan Spieth's struggles continued as he swallowed two double bogeys in a 76 while Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler all had to settle for two-over 74s.

McIlroy is 1.001 to win the Players Championship, with Fleetwood 301.00 and Johnson 1001.00.

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