McGirt, Hughes tied for lead at Players Champ.
Kaepernick adviser: 3 teams called about QB
Sergio Garcia has won and lost THE PLAYERS at the infamous par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass, creating a love-hate relationship with the island green. In Thursday’s opening round he added to the love side of the equation, making the eighth ace on the hole in the history of the tournament. Garcia guided his 52-degree wedge expertly towards the pin, spinning the ball slightly back into the cup much to the delight of the late afternoon crowd. “It was nice to see it bounce and kind of spin back into the hole,” he said with a smile. “It is tricky. It’s not easy. It’s probably one of the hardest 125- or 140-yard shots that we get all year with the greens being firm like they are.” In 2008 Garcia entered a playoff with Paul Goydos and watched as the American rinsed his tee shot in the water. Knowing a good shot would lock up a signature win he took dead aim and stiffed his shot to within a few feet at the dangerous Sunday pin. Trophy secured. But then there is the hate. He has six career balls in the water but it was 2013, when he dunked the ball into the drink twice on Sunday, that the affair turned sour. Tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at the time Garcia walked off with a quadruple bogey 7, stealing away any chance he had of downing his longtime rival. The newly minted Masters Tournament champion has resurrected his stat line at the hole in the last three years, now having played it in a cumulative 6 under on his last 13 tries. The ace came at a good time, given the leading THE PLAYERS money winner was 3 over on his round at the time. It was the second ace of Garcia’s PGA TOUR career. “I needed it after the start I had. It kind of made quite a poor round into – not a great round but a decent round,” he said. After posting his 1-over 73 the Spaniard sits six off the pace, but put a positive spin on the number given it was his first competitive round since donning the Green Jacket. “I felt like I was a little bit up in the clouds, and when I woke up, I was 4 over after 6,” Garcia admitted. “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 that if we have a good day tomorrow, we still have a solid chance going into the weekend. “Tomorrow I want to come out there, concentrate like I should, and if I can manage to shoot 4 or 5 under tomorrow, I’m still going to have a great chance. An under-par round tomorrow will be key to get back in it.”
Black-eyed Susans to the winner, the Woodlawn Vase trophy, the Alibi Breakfast, painting the weather vane, and more.
In an interview with Nets teammate Randy Foye, Jeremy Lin detailed the most offensive remarks he heard during his college career.
PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Penguins looked like they needed a day off. Maybe more than one.
And yet there the defending Stanley Cup champions were on Tuesday morning, dressed and skating barely 12 hours removed from a listless Game 6 loss to Washington
The “NFL Total Access” crew discusses if former Browns WR Josh Gordon has played his last down in the NFL.
William McGirt shot a 5-under 67 to grab the early lead at TPC Sawgrass, and Mackenzie Hughes matched him later in the day.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Mackenzie Hughes arrived at the TPC Sawgrass with no scar tissue and played his first round at THE PLAYERS Championship with no bogeys. Pretty simple, eh? The Canadian rookie shook his head and laughed. Even after going bogey-free in his debut Thursday for a 5-under 67 to share the lead with William McGirt, Hughes saw enough of THE PLAYERS Stadium Course to realize that surprises lurk around every corner. “There’s just not really a moment where you can let up,” Hughes said. 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. First, he watched Masters Tournament champion Sergio Garcia hit a gap wedge that took one big hop, land just behind the cup and disappear for a hole-in-one. Scott followed by spinning a shot off the bank and into the water for a double bogey, and he compounded that with another double bogey. “I played some good golf out there and unfortunately not on the last two,” Scott said after settling for a 70. “It happens.” At least he had company. Dustin Johnson’s first wedge of the way hit the pin, caromed off the green and led to bogey. On a day when nothing seemed to go his way, the world’s No. 1 player opened with a 71. Rory McIlroy went to tap in from 2 feet and missed it, and then had to make one twice that long for his double bogey on the 10th hole. He shot 73. Through it all, Hughes was rock solid. Only twice did he have par putts longer than 3 feet, and he made them both. The last piece of stress came on the final hole when trees block his way to the green. To chip out sideways would risk chipping into the water. He found a 4-foot wide window in which he had to keep it under on branch and go over two more. It was a large enough gap and the perfect shot for a 6-iron. “I was close enough to the trees. It paid off,” said Hughes, who already has won (Sea Island) in his rookie season on the PGA TOUR. McGirt played in morning and made a pair of eagles on the back nine to atone in his round of 67. Among those at 68 was Jon Rahm, another first-timer at this lucrative event who had one of four bogey-free rounds on the steamy day in north Florida. Even with a mild wind in the afternoon, just over a third of the field broke par. Fast starts and bad finishes were the norm, and not just for Scott. Defending champion Jason Day ran off two straight birdies after making the turn and was in the lead at 5 under, which for the former world No. 1 was a peculiar position. He hasn’t won since THE PLAYERS last year. Day, however, made three bogeys over his last four holes and had to settle for a 70. He was playing in the same group as Rickie Fowler, the 2015 champion who also got off to a fast start until one bad shot — a really bad shot — on his 15th hole at the par-4 seventh. From the middle of the fairway, Fowler blocked it so badly to the right that it hit a cart path and went deep into the pines. It took him two shots to get out and he made double bogey. Fowler also shot 70. Fowler managed to see the big picture. “No one’s going crazy low or anything like that,” he said. Garcia’s round was different. He made three bogeys and a double bogey in his opening six holes and went out in 40, the first nine holes of competition he has played since winning the Masters a month ago. He felt nerves on the first tee when he was introduced as the Masters champion. “The feeling was great,” he said. “I think I wasn’t quite in the tournament because of everything that’s been going on after the Masters win and media and people congratulating you left, right and center. I felt like I was a little bit up in the clouds, and when I woke up, I was 4 over after six.” Johnson still has only two rounds in the 60s out of 27 attempts at the Stadium Course. He could accept this 71 just because of all that went wrong — the wedge that hit the pin on No. 1, birdie putts that spun around the holes at Nos. 2 and 12. Johnson rallied late with a 25-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole. “It could have been really good today, but ended up just being OK,” Johnson said. McGirt was among 13 players from the morning draw who shot in the 60s, but he was the only player to get as low as 6 under until he missed a short par putt on the final hole. Told that no one had made eagle on both par 5s on the back nine in the opening round, McGirt didn’t have an answer. “Good numbers at a good time, made a good swing at a good time,” McGirt said. “You just kind of see the shot and hit the shot and see the putt and hit the putt.” He made it sound simple, even though THE PLAYERS Stadium Course can be anything but that.
Predicting starting lineups for all 32 NFL teams
Twins pitching prospect Jose Berrios had an uninspiring debut last season, posting an 8.02 ERA with an equally ugly 49/35 K/BB ratio in 58 1/3 innings across 14 starts last season. As Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports, however, the Twins are in no rush to promote Berrios to the majors. Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said, “I think Jose’s done a really nice job.
Sports Betting News’ Greg Wyshynski makes his prediction and looks at the keys to the Western Conference final between the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks.