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Dublin: 11°C Monday 17 May 2021

Flawless first round sees McIlroy off to a flyer as Fleetwood leads the way at TPC Sawgrass

An opening round 67 sees the Northern Irishman sit two shots off the lead at The Players Championship.

RORY MCILROY GOT his bid for a maiden Players Championship title off to a terrific start this afternoon, carding an opening round 67 to leave him two shots adrift of leader, Tommy Fleetwood.

THE PLAYERS Championship 2019 Rory McIlroy off to a solid start at TPC Sawgrass. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

McIlroy, who has endured Sunday woes of late, ensured he was very much in the running as his first round ended sitting fifth on five under.

A bogey-free round took the Northern Irishman ahead of Dustin Johnson, who failed to build on a 32 on his front nine and finished three under when he bogeyed the last.

Fleetwood, meanwhile, has seized an early lead at The Players Championship.

The Englishman – a star of last year’s Ryder Cup alongside Francesco Molinari – made a superb start to the week as he carded a seven-under 65 to move into the lead ahead of Byeong Hun An.

Fleetwood was just one under through his front nine, having started at the 10th, but rallied with six birdies on the way back to edge in front by a shot at TPC Sawgrass.

“I played really well all day,” Fleetwood told Sky Sports. “I had some chances on 15 and it didn’t happen but it shows that if you stay patient, things can happen.”

THE PLAYERS Championship 2019 Tommy Fleetwood leads the way after a fantastic performance on the back nine. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Among the other Irish competitors in the field, Seamus Power will have his work cut out for him after an opening round 74 leaves him outside the top 100.

Despite two birdies and a single bogey on his front nine – he suffered a disappointing run of four dropped shots in five holes between the 10th and the 14th. A birdie on the 16th put some shine on an otherwise difficult round.

Shane Lowry was among the late starters and will finish his round later this evening.

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Justin Thomas was also involved at the top of the leaderboard until he found the water with his tee shot at the sixth and carded a double-bogey.

A bogey at the eighth then contributed to Thomas ending the day with a one-under 71.

Bryson DeChambeau went round in 70 and Sergio Garcia finished one better off at three under.

Elsewhere, an early contender for shot of the week came from Harris English, who hit a stunning albatross at the 11th.

You can follow the full leaderboard here.

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Ryan Bailey on The42 Rugby Weekly as Ireland bid to spoil Wales’ Grand Slam party in Cardiff, and the U20s target their own piece of history.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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