Rory McIlroy dealing with sore back again

Oosthuizen, Stanley share lead at Players Championship

Oosthuizen, Stanley lead Players as big names tread water

Mackenzie Hughes reacts on the 18th hole during the first round of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass.

And the 37-year-old American joins 26-year-old Hughes at the top of the leaderboard after the 2016 RSM Classic victor fired a bogey-free round which included five birdies.

"I overreacted probably a bit, but all in all, you just don't see that very often", Spieth said.

"I'm not going to lie, it wasn't a great day out there", Garcia told the Golf Channel.

No need explaining that to Adam Scott, who won The Players in 2004 and was off to a strong start on a steamy afternoon when he was 6 under and heading to the infamous par-3 17th with its island green.

Louis Oosthuizen and Kyle Stanley shot dueling 66s on Friday, and both enter the weekend atop the leaderboard at 9-under par.

Day seemed well on his way to leading The Players for a fifth consecutive round (he was the first wire-to-wire victor since Hal Sutton in 2000 last year) when he was 5-under with four holes to play.

The resulting 71 left McIlroy on one under par overall, with world number one Dustin Johnson two over after a 74 which included five dropped shots in the last six holes.

At one under par McIlroy was eight shots off the pace and five behind 54-year-old Fijian Vijay Singh, who was looking to surpass the 52-year-old Sam Snead as the oldest victor in PGA Tour history with his first victory since 2008.

Garcia was aided by just the second ace in the last 15 years at the famous par-3 17th on Thursday. With a win, Garcia would join Tiger Woods (2001) as the only player to win the Masters and the Players Championship in the same year. "I don't know that you can really learn this golf course, because the thing with this place is you hit one that lands four, five feet off the putting surface, there's no telling what's going to happen to it", noted McGirt.

Oosthuizen and his sweet swing were a good fit in any conditions at the TPC Sawgrass, and he managed to play bogey-free and finish with a birdie on the par-5 ninth. You know that coming into it and you prepare that way.

"It was very solid, but yeah, to go bogey-free around this place, very hard to do, obviously, and I started the day, I wouldn't have expected a round like that, but I knew my game was trending", Hughes added. "That didn't help, but then I started hitting better shots, started hitting better putts, and at least we were able to salvage a round there at the end". "It doesn't matter how good you're feeling, you have to play really well", Grillo said. McGirt had a pair of eagles on the back nine for his 67.

Three weeks after thinking he had lost his PGA Tour card, Ian Poulter will head into the final round of the £8.1milllion Players Championship just three shots off the lead.

"It was nice to see it bounce and kind of spin back into the hole".

"And then I was going to go out Wednesday, and I just thought, gosh, if I walk around in the heat, I'll get exhausted".

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