Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Sports | By Johanna Francis

The Players Championship 2019 preview: Predictions, picks and upsets

The Players Championship 2019 preview: Predictions, picks and upsets

Tiger is back. The former world No. 1 and current No. 13 is on the TPS Sawgrass course taking part in this weekend's Player Championship.

Fleetwood and Bradley lead South Korea's Byeong Hun An and American Brian Harman (66) by one, while four-time major victor Rory McIlroy is five under courtesy of a 67.

"The wind picked up and there were some tough holes there", he said.

"I have certainly made some birdies, I've definitely hit it in the water a few times, but at this point who hasn't, after my 12th time or so playing this event".

Fleetwood birdied six of his last nine holes in an inward half of 30, just one shot outside the tournament record, to set an imposing clubhouse target of seven under par and enjoy a one-shot lead over Korea's Ben An and American Brian Harman. The past winners of this event, which was introduced and called the Tournament Players Championship until 1988, is a who's who of the game's greats.

"The sense of achievement winning the Players, to beat such a strong field on a very demanding course, is an absolute highlight of my career". I feel like good shots weren't always rewarded, just with the way the course was playing. "I was waiting to try and find the ball on the green and I didn't see it, after I kind of heard it hit the pin".

"I'm going to come back at 9am, hit the putt and then I start my second round at 9.35am".

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World No 4 Justin Thomas described the new rules as "terrible", while journeyman Andrew Landry called them "garbage" and called for the PGA Tour to create its own.

He came close a year ago at the U.S. Open, where he finished a stroke behind champion Brooks Koepka after a closing 63.

"It's got one of the best fields of all the tournaments and, yeah, I think all the players look at it as a major".

McIlroy, a presence on leaderboards every time he has played this year, got off to a good start with a bogey-free sortie. I played last out in the afternoon two years ago and I just feel bad for the guys who are going out last tomorrow.

He was in a greenside bunker in two shots, but took two attempts to get out of the sand, and three more to hole out.

For those not up to speed on golf terminology, that's three-under par on a hole.

Tiger Woods was equal 35th after an entertaining 70 that included six birdies and four bogeys.

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