Tracker: Kaymer leads Players Championship

Martin Kaymer during Thursday's first round of the PGA Tour's 2014 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Martin Kaymer during Thursday's first round of the PGA Tour's 2014 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. ( Getty Images )

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Many consider the Players Championship the season's "fifth major," and TPC Sawgrass backs that up with a difficult test for the world's best players.

With nearly everyone in the top 10 teeing it up Thursday, two-time Tour winner Russell Henley took command early with an opening 65 this morning – then was passed during unusually calm afternoon winds by Martin Kaymer's 63.

Complete tee times and pairings for Friday's second round.

Recap Thursday's happenings on the course right here – and scroll down for our preview coverage.

• • •

Update #25: 7:16 p.m. ET

Sang-Moon Bae finishes with two straight pars for a 66 that has him three shots back of leader Martin Kaymer. Bae is one shot back of second-place Russell Henley and one ahead of eight players tied for fourth.

Our Adam Schupak points out that there's quite a surprise on the board today. He posted via his Twitter account, @GolfweekSchupak: "Didn't see Adam Scott putting up a big number today. 77 and +6 on his last 6 holes. He's going to have to go Brendon de Jonge on TPC Friday."

• • •

Update #24: 6:49 p.m. ET

Bubba Watson misses a par putt inside 5 feet at the 18th but sinks the comebacker for a 3-under 69 that leaves him T-19 as he heads to the clubhouse. It's Watson's first tournament since winning the Masters.

A birdie at No. 16 pushes Sang-Moon Bae to third place at 6 under, three back of leader Martin Kaymer. Bae, of South Korea, is looking for his first top-10 finish of the season and his second career Tour win.

• • •

Update #23: 6:27 p.m. ET

Who says Bubba Watson can't go low at TPC Sawgrass? Despite the reigning Masters champ's words to the contrary earlier this week in Ponte Vedra Beach, Watson is doing just fine so far – an eagle at the par-5 16th lifts him to 4 under for his first round and T-12.

• • •

Update #22: 5:57 p.m. ET

With several of the top 10 players in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings playing in the afternoon wave of the first round at TPC Sawgrass this week, let's check in again on their day:

  • 1. Adam Scott: T-86, 1 over through 15 holes
  • 2. Matt Kuchar: T-19, 3 under through 14
  • 3. Bubba Watson: T-30, 2 under through 14
  • 6. Sergio Garcia: T-3, 5-under 67
  • 7. Steve Stricker: T-68, even par through 15
  • 8. Zach Johnson: T-19, 3-under 69
  • 9. Henrik Stenson: T-47, 1 under through 15
  • 10. Hunter Mahan: T-115, 3 over through 14

• • •

Update #21: 5:52 p.m. ET

Four straight birdies to end his first round vault Martin Kaymer two shots clear of Russell Henley for the Players Championship lead. That's a back-nine 29 during a bogey-free day for Kaymer, who has stolen the Thursday thunder of two-time Tour winner Henley.

• • •

Update #20: 5:28 p.m. ET

It's unusual to see an afternoon round in Florida take the lead, but Martin Kaymer has beaten the odds with a birdie at No. 8 to move to 8 under, a shot ahead of Russell Henley with one hole left to play.

• • •

Update #19: 5:17 p.m. ET

Back-to-back birdies by Martin Kaymer have pulled the German into a tie for the lead alongside Russell Henley. Kaymer's last win on Tour was the 2010 PGA Championship.

• • •

Update #18: 4:29 p.m. ET

Martin Kaymer birdies No. 4, his third since making the turn, and moves to 5 under – T-2 and two shots back of leader Russell Henley. Bogey-free today, Kaymer is looking for his second top-10 finish on Tour this season.

Keegan Bradley is 1 under through 11 holes thanks to this birdie at No. 9. Bradley bogeyed No. 5 and immediately answered with a birdie.

• • •

Update #17: 3:51 p.m. ET

Bill Haas birdies Nos. 15-16 and follows with a pair of pars to make the turn at 4 under, the low number this afternoon. John Huh bogeys No. 8 and makes the turn at 3 under.

• • •

Update #16: 3:19 p.m. ET

Eight of the top 10 players in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings are at TPC Sawgrass this week, aiming for a Players Championship win. Let's check in on their day so far:

  • 1. Adam Scott: T-45, 1 under through six holes
  • 2. Matt Kuchar: T-25, 2 under through five
  • 3. Bubba Watson: T-64, even through five
  • 6. Sergio Garcia: T-2, 5-under 67
  • 7. Steve Stricker: T-35, 1 under through six
  • 8. Zach Johnson: T-14, 3-under 69
  • 9. Henrik Stenson: T-64, even through six
  • 10. Hunter Mahan: T-87, 1 over through five

• • •

Update #15: 3:03 p.m. ET

Matt Kuchar and Jimmy Walker are 2 under through four holes this afternoon, Kuchar opening with back-to-back birdies and Walker birdieing Nos. 2-3.

• • •

Update #14: 2:51 p.m. ET

John Huh birdies No. 6 to get to 4 under, tops among the afternoon wave and three back of leader Russell Henley. Huh, a Cal-Northridge product, is looking for his second top-10 finish of the season.

• • •

Update #13: 2:33 p.m. ET

Bill Haas birdies No. 13 to get to 3 under through four holes, joining John Huh and Tim Clark on the low number so far among the afternoon players. That's four back of leader Russell Henley.

What's a closing stretch on Tour these days without a nickname for the course's key holes? With that in mind, the PGA Tour takes a look at "The Gauntlet" on TPC Sawgrass' Stadium Course.

• • •

Update #12: 2:17 p.m. ET

John Huh opens with three straight birdies and follows with a par to get to 3 under straight out of the gate, good for T-13.

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Update #11: 1:58 p.m. ET

Graham DeLaet heads to the 18th at 3 under. He's bogey-free through 17 holes today.

DeLaet began the season with a missed cut at the Shriners, then notched five straight finishes of T-8 or better. But in seven starts since, he has just one top 10.

• • •

Update #10: 1:31 p.m. ET

Graeme McDowell birdies his final hole (No. 9) to finish off a 3-under 69; he is four shots back of Russell Henley.

Masters runner-up Jordan Spieth struggled on his final hole, after hitting his approach shot on the par 5 into the bunker on the lef. He got up-and-down from the front of the green to make par on No. 9 to finish his first round ever at The Players with a 5-under 67.

• • •

Update #9: 1:00 p.m. ET

With a back nine 6-under 30, Russell Henley ties the back-nine record at The Players. Henley takes a two-shot lead after a 7-under 65 as the morning wave finishes up and the afternoon wave tees off.

• • •

Update #8: 12:49 p.m. ET

Russell Henley has taken sole possession of the lead after a birdie at the 17th. It's his sixth birdie on the back nine (Nos. 10-12 and 15-17) and ninth overall during the first round. His one slip up came at the par-4 seventh, where he made a double bogey.

• • •

Update #7: 12:40 p.m. ET

It's all about the players Thursday, but on Wednesday PGA Tour caddies had a chance to take aim at the par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass to raise money for the Bruce Edwards Foundation.

• • •

Update #6: 12:14 p.m. ET

A birdie at the par-4 18th gives Brian Stuard a 5-under 67, a first round that includes five birdies and no bogeys. It's Stuard's best round since he shot 66 in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Open in March. He is searching for his fifth finish of sixth or better this week.

• • •

Update #5: 11:46 a.m. ET

After a bogey on the par-4 fourth, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano made back-to-back birdies Nos. 6 and 7 to get to 6 under on the day and takes a two-shot lead over Lee Westwood, Chris Kirk and Scott Brown.

• • •

Update #4: 11:17 a.m. ET

Our senior writer Adam Schupak posts on his Twitter account, @GolfweekSchupak: "Not a breath of wind this morning at TPC Sawgrass. Course is playing as easy as you're going to see it. Scoring is low. These guys are good."

Scott Brown has five birdies through his first nine holes with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 3 and 4, Nos. 7 and 8, and 9. As he makes the turn, a cluster of players at 4 under includes Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood.

• • •

Update #3: 10:38 a.m. ET

Already making the turn, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano leads The Players Championship at 5 under through 12 holes. Starting on No. 10, Fernandez-Castano birdied 12, 16, 18, 1 and 2.

In 2014, Fernandez-Castano has played in 11 PGA Tour events. He has made the cut in eight of those events, but his best finish has been T-24 at The Honda Classic in early March.

• • •

Update #2: 10:10 a.m. ET

Tiger Woods, the defending champion, is not playing this week, but let's take a look at the last five champions and how each are playing early in the 2014 tournament:

  • 2012, Matt Kuchar: Not started; tee off 1:49 p.m. ET
  • 2011, K.J. Choi: 1 over through 8 (T-49)
  • 2010, Tim Clark: Not started; tee off 1:07 p.m. ET
  • 2009, Henrik Stenson: Not started; tee off 1:28 p.m. ET
  • 2008, Sergio Garcia: 3 under through 4 (T-3)

• • •

Update #1: 9:43 a.m. ET

Welcome to the PGA Tour's 'fifth major' as some call it – The Players Championship. This week in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., eight of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are playing.

It's early in Round 1, but four players – Lee Westwood, Russell Henley, Kevin Na and Chris Kirk – lead at TPC Sawgrass' Stadium course at 3 under.

Other notables on the course this morning: Sergio Garcia is 2 under; Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed are at 1 under; and Phil Mickelson is 1 over after a bogey on his first hole, No. 10.

• • •

Preview coverage

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Looking for a hot Players pick? Watson might not be your man

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'Imperfections' at Players? Believe it or not, yes

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On eve of Players, Singh seeks one more thing from Tour

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Scott learns to work harder after '04 Players win

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Cink, Ogilvy hunger for return among elite

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Ogilvy shopping for a new putter at Sawgrass

Geoff Ogilvy took out his recent frustrations on his old putter, and is now in the market for a new one this week at the Players Championship.