McIlroy, Schauffele and Clark are the leaders

In the Top 10, tied for 6th with 67 (-5), is also American Scottie Scheffler

by Andrea Gussoni
McIlroy, Schauffele and Clark are the leaders
© Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport

Balance, spectacle, a "hole in one," and the halt for the arrival of darkness. In Florida, everything happened in the first round of The Players Championship, the most important tournament on the PGA Tour, which offers a $25,000,000 purse, with $4,500,000 going to the winner.

At Ponte Vedra Beach, Americans Xander Schauffele (gold medalist at the Tokyo Games) and Wyndham Clark lead the standings, with a score of 65 (-7) shots, alongside Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, world number 2 and winner of the competition in 2019.

At TPC Sawgrass (par 72), where nine players still have to complete the first 18 holes, Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick and Canadian Nick Taylor, both tied for 4th with 66 (-6), are chasing the leaders.

Golf, results

In the Top 10, tied for 6th with 67 (-5), is also American Scottie Scheffler.

World number 1, coming off a victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, aims to become the first golfer to win consecutive The Players Championships, which this year celebrates its 50th edition. Same score, among others, for Swedish Ludvig Aberg and Australian Jason Day (a past winner of the tournament, which he claimed in 2016).

Meanwhile, Francesco Molinari is tied for 76th with 72 (par). After a convincing start, with two birdies in the first nine, the Turin native stained his card in the second part of the game with three bogeys. In between, another birdie.

Meanwhile, New Zealander Ryan Fox, tied for 22nd with 69 (-3), made the 43rd hole-in-one at the iconic 17th hole (par 3) of TPC Sawgrass using a wedge from 124 yards (113.386 meters). The Players Championship features 143 competitors, including 46 among the top-ranked (there were 47, but Tom Kim withdrew due to physical problems) 50 in the world, and boasts the highest purse of any other tournament (excluding Majors) in the PGA Tour's regular season.

The tournament was created by then-PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beane; the first edition was held in 1974 in Marietta at the Atlanta Country Club. The following year, the competition was moved to Texas, taking place at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, while in 1976, it was played at the Inverrary Country Club in Lauderhill, Florida.

In 1976, the PGA reached a multi-year agreement with the Sawgrass Country Club for the annual tournament starting from 1977; from 1982 onwards, the tournament has been played across the road to the west, at the Stadium Course of the TPC at Sawgrass.

Starting from 1987, the event was renamed as The Players Championship and no longer the Tournament Player Championship. The 2020 edition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scottie Scheffler