The first round of the Players Championship was a colorful one for Brooks Koepka at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday.
Koepka, winner of the Waste Management Open earlier this season, is teeing it up in his first Players Championship this week. No doubt, it'll be a while before he forgets his debut which at times was sensational and -- at other times -- downright dreadful.
Playing the back nine first, Koepka opened with a bogey, but bounced right back with a birdie on No. 11. After pars on 12 and 13, things got, well, a little insane.
Koepka lost his tee shot on the par-4 14th hole. That led to a double bogey to go 2 over for the round. He quickly canceled out the double with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 15 and 16.
Then, like it does for a lot of players at TPC Sawgrass, things got ugly at the par-3 17th. After hitting his tee ball and his penalty drop shots both in the water, Koepka was finally on the green in five shots and two-putted for a quadruple-bogey 7.
The bleeding didn't stop there. Kopeka, on the difficult par-4 18th hole, hit his third shot in the water from 141 yards out. On the green in five, Koepka three-putted for a quadruple-bogey 8 and an outward 8-over 44. In the span of two holes, he went from even par to 8 over.
With a bogey at the first hole -- his ninth of the day -- Koepka went to 9 over.
Ever the competitor, he went on to birdie three out of his next five holes and then parred the final two for an inward 2-under 34 and a 6-over 78 total.
It's not often pros have six birdies on the card and shoot a 78.
Sure, not the greatest start in the world, but a heck of a bounce back for Koepka who certainly did not pack it in.
Here's a look at the card:
Over the years, there have been countless great shots hit at TPC Sawgrass during the Players Championship.
A couple of days ago, I referenced back to the Fred Couples "hole-in-three" at the par-3 17th, when after hitting his initial tee shot in the water in 1999, Couples re-teed and proceeded to hole-out for the most unlikely of pars.
Another shot -- on that very same hole -- that immediately comes to mind during Players Championship week is the famous "better than most" putt, called by announcer Gary Koch, struck by Tiger Woods on his way to winning the tournament for the first time in 2001.
Here's another look at that magnificent putt:
Woods, who won the last time he played at TPC Sawgrass in 2013, tees off for the first round of the Players Championship this afternoon at 1:49 along with Martin Kaymer and Adam Scott.
Fresh off a win last week in the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship at TPC Harding Park, it looks like Rory McIlroy has carried that momentum into this week's Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass early on.
Playing the back nine first on Thursday, McIlroy ran off five consecutive pars. He birdied the 15th hole to get it under par and then made this masterful eagle on the par-5 16th hole:
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 7, 2015
What a smooth approach that was. At the time of this post, McIlroy was 3 under though eight holes after a par at the island-green, par-3 17th.
Chesson Hadley is sneakily becoming one of the funniest guys on the PGA Tour.
During PGA Championship week last year, The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon handed out PGA Tour Superlatives. You can see the video below.
Hadley was a part of the piece:
Showing he has a sense of humor, Hadley later tweeted this response:
— Chesson Hadley (@chessonhadley) August 14, 2014
Well played, no doubt.
On Wednesday at the Players Championship, Hadley decided to pull a prank (if you want to call it that) on two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson.
Hadley, disguised as a ridiculously giddy fan with his hat turned backwards at TPC Sawgrass, stood along the ropes as Watson was walking past and begging for an autograph. Like many, Hadley scored Watson's John Hancock:
— Chesson Hadley (@chessonhadley) May 6, 2015
The best part of the video was the fact that Watson never looked up and had no idea it was Hadley.
Also, I love the text in the tweet about how disappointed he is to be playing for a $10 million purse this week in which the winner scores a cool $1.8 million.
If the golf career doesn't work out for Hadley (it will), you might one day be seeing him in a comedy club near you.
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