McGirt, Hughes share Players lead

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Golf's annual pucker-fest took center stage Thursday at TPC Sawgrass, with the notorious island-green 17th hole meting out its usual punishment (although not to Sergio Garcia, whom we'll get to in a minute). Here's how things stand after one round of The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.:

Leaderboard: William McGirt (-5), Mackenzie Hughes (-5), J.B. Holmes (-4), Alex Noren (-4), Chez Reavie (-4), Jon Rahm (-4)

What it means: There's a lot of golf to be played, a lot of trips to the potentially round-wrecking 17th hole. We should give props to McGirt for another fast start in a big tournament. At the Masters, he opened with a 69 that left him in second place after Round 1. Unfortunately, he would end up tied for 22nd.

Rounds of the day: McGirt followed an interesting path to his 67. After making three birdies on the front nine, he eagled both par-5s on the back. Unfortunately, he also bogeyed the 10th and the 18th. Canadian Hughes bookended his front nine with two birdies, then made three more on the back.

Best of the rest: Holmes, Noren, Reavie and Rahm all shot 68. Sweden's Noren made it to the final group on Sunday in the Wells Fargo Championship, where he closed with a 77, and Spain's Rahm finished fourth in the same event.

Biggest disappointment: We have two candidates: First, Scott. He was cruising along, leading the tournament at 6 under, when he didn't get his tee shot deep enough onto the 17th green and watched it bounce back into the water. He made double bogey. Then he hit his second shot into the water at the 18th and made another double bogey. It wasn't the best of days for Jordan Spieth, who shot a 73 that included a double-bogey 6 on his 10th hole of the day (No. 1) that he blamed on a poorly raked bunker.

Shot of the day: The 137-yard, par-3 17th was no problem for Garcia, who hit his iron shot right at the front pin, bounced it jut past and sucked the ball back into the cup.

Main storyline heading into Friday: How will things shake out after 36 holes? For one thing, where are the leeaders in the world ranking? No. 3 Jason Day shot 70 and is three shots back, and No. 1 Dustin Johnson is four back after a 71. Also, two of Thursday's finishes were potentially misleading: Scott played well until the final two holes, where he dropped four shots. Conversely, Garcia was fortunate to keep his score down to 73, thanks to his hole-in-one at the 17th.