Lahiri hopes to regain form at Players Championship

Mackenzie Hughes of Canada plays his tee shot on the par 5 16th hole watched by his playing partner Tiger Woods

McIlroy has his own star group with Spieth and Justin Thomas, three players in their 20s who have combined for eight majors. Of the group, only McIlroy was under par.

Yet McIlroy says he has shrugged off that setback and believes he can use it as motivation for this week's even in Florida, often billed as the unofficial fifth major. "It could have been probably a little worse as well".

"I've played my way into it and it's obviously the way to go".

And, as always, you have a bevy of sleepers, like Kyle Stanley, Louis Oosthuizen, Chesson Hadley, Adam Hadwin, Billy Horschel, Si Woo Kim, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith and so forth and so forth. He's smack-dab in a gaggle of golfers, a six-way tie for second.

"With it being a Ryder Cup year and with The Open two weeks later, I'm sure that the likes of Justin Rose and Ian Poulter will be there", said Smyth, who was confirmed yesterday as Dubai Duty Free Irish Open ambassador until 2022.

"I spent a lot of time working on my wedges last week because I nearly think you are better off just chipping out and leaving a full shot a lot of times instead of getting it up around the greens and having to chip out here", he said.

"At this point, I don't know which way I'm going to go", Stricker said. Garcia was actually leading until he got smacked by the 17th. "But all in all played great today".

He commandeered a pair of binoculars to help his search but could not confirm that a ball spotted in the tree was definitely his, instead declaring his ball lost and returning to the tee for his third shot.

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Gareth Bale has teamed up with the PGA TOUR to take on the purest test in golf - the famous island green -.

Six players are tied for the lead, at 6-under, headlined by the world's No. 1 player, Dustin Johnson.

Twenty-one players hit their tee shots into the water in the opening round, and three other balls went into the water from either the drop area or from a greenside bunker.

Johnson had no bogies. I mean, have you seen the golf course?

When asked whether he fancies a career in golf after football, Bale told the PGA Tour: 'I'd like to think so if I had the time to practise but obviously I know how hard golf is, and you see the professionals and how good they are and the practise they put in. "It's a week where I feel well prepared for", said Lahiri.

After a 268 yard drive on the 302-yard par-4 12th, Watney chipped his fourth shot to 2 feet, which he rolled for one-putt bogey on the hole. Both struggled most of the afternoon.

Cantlay began his round at the 10th and after an outward nine of 32 added three more birdies before a bogey at his 17th (the 8th) after missing the lengthy par-3 well to the right cost him the outright lead. Rickie Fowler was fearless enough to play with the two larger-than-life golfers, and he too suffered, including a visit to the water on 17. He has two wins here this year, not quite as well, but that's learning how to win. Can't wait for the round two!

All in all, it was a day when what you thought might happened didn't and what you thought couldn't possibly happen did.

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