McIlroy to play 'smarter' in bid for first Players title

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Garcia is the name that pops the most as he's won here before and probably would be leading if not for his double on the 17th on Thursday after dunking one short of the island green. "I felt like I was just being stubborn, trying to hit driver where there's no point in hitting driver". I would love to add this event to my CV'.

After hitting the green from the drop zone, Simpson two-putted for a double bogey 5 that dashed any hopes of 59.

One shot back of Scott sits fellow Australian Jason Day, the 2016 champion at TPC Sawgrass, at two under through 12 holes.

"It's a lot of fun to play good golf, and hopefully I can keep that up". I've won out here numerous times not playing well but found a way to score and get the job done.

"But it was just a fun day".

"I didn't quite swing it right today, and I didn't quite have the shape, ball flight", said Woods. But since then the Northern Irishman has finished eighth, sixth, eighth and 12th before a tie for 35th previous year. "Driving, iron play, chipping and putting, and today everything came together". "I've been playing well since the back nine of New Orleans (Zurich Classic) on Friday". I had a lot of fun, enjoyed being with the guys. He was inside the cut line until hitting into the water on the 17th and making double bogey.

A former "can't miss" amateur who was the Tour's Rookie of the Year in 2013-14, Hadley was undeterred by his double/bogey finish. "It's a tough decision every week when I've got an opportunity to play either tour".

History and tradition are the primary reasons for preventing the Players from attaining major championship status, but you've also got to look at the record book as well. "I didn't have much of what I wanted". I've got a few years under my belt - and it took me a few years to figure it out - but I've had a few top-10s here.

"We were talking about it throughout the round, all three of us", said Spieth, who played with Thomas and McIlroy. "It's hard to ask for anything more than that". The 100th ranked Indian is in the midst of a drought since starting the season with back-to-back top 10 finishes in Malaysia and Korea previous year.

The 40-year-old finished tied for fifth last week at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Rose's compatriot, Paul Casey, withdrew on Wednesday because of a back injury. After missing out on a chance to take the top spot in the Official World Ranking from Dustin Johnson last week, we're thinking he gets it done (a missed cut might even do the trick depending on what DJ does) this time. Another two shots back is Masters champion Patrick Reed.

Woods' day on Friday was very middling. Of course the inevitable "what's wrong with Jordan Spieth?" backlash will follow, and then he'll win two of his next five events.

McIlroy, 29, believes he has overcome initial difficulties with the Sawgrass set-up that saw him miss the cut in his first three visits.

The 2012 U.S. Open champion, who posted a 66 on Thursday, also tied the course record for consecutive birdies as he made six in a row from the 11th to the 16th holes. The Players Championship has never been a major and regardless of all the talk, it never will be nor should it be a major.

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