By Mike Bonts
PONTE VEDRA (Florida Sports Wire) Chad Ramey, one of 32 first timers in the field, becomes the first player to hold the 18-hole lead/co-lead in his tournament debut at The Players Championship since Mackenzie Hughes in 2017.
Ramey (64) and Collin Morikawa (65) were the only two players in the field without a bogey or worse in the first round. Five of the 11 players tied for fifth or better are first timers at The Players Championship; those 11 players have made a combined 11 prior starts.
Morikawa carded his lowest round at The Players Championship. His previous-best position on the leaderboard after any round was tied for 26.
Morikawa is seeking his first victory of the season after three top-10s in his last five starts: 2nd/Sentry Tournament of Champions, 3rd/Farmers Insurance Open, T6/The Genesis Invitational and his sixth win on the PGA TOUR (most recent: 2021 Open Championship).
- 11th player to shoot 64 or better in the first round of The Players Championship on record (since 1983) and first since Jason Day in 2016 (63); four of the previous 10 went on to win.
- Second career 18-hole lead/co-lead on the Tour (T1/2021 Butterfield Bermuda Championship; went on to finish T17) and third career lead/co-lead after any round (T1/R2/2021 Shriners Children’s Open/T14.
- Second-lowest opening round by a player making his debut on record (since 1983); best: 63/Roberto Castro/2013.
- Second-lowest round of PGA Tour career (low: 63/R1/2021 Shriners Children’s Open)
- Matches his low round of the 2022-23 season (R4/2023 Sony Open in Hawaii).
First Round Notes
Taylor Pendrith (T3/-5) opens with 5-under 67, his low 18-hole score in the event in his second appearance at the event (T13/2022); Pendrith hit all 14 fairways, his first career round on the PGA TOUR without missing a fairway….Making his debut, Ben Griffin (T3) birdies his last three holes (Nos. 7-9) en route to 5-under 67; Griffin is making his 14th start of the season and his best finish is T3 (2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship)….In his third start at The Players, World No. 2 Scottie Scheffler (T6) cards 68 to match his low round at the event…FedExCup leader and World No. 1 Jon Rahm, seeking his fourth win of the season, opens with 1-under 71 and sits T33; Rahm entered the week having finished in the top 10 in six of his seven starts on the Tour this season….2019 champion and World No. 3 Rory McIlroy records a 4-over 76 and sits T118; McIlroy’s 76 is his highest 18-hole score since shooting 76 in the final round of the 2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard….Hayden Buckley (T71/+1) made a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th with a pitching wedge from 125 yards; Buckley became the first player on record (1983-present) to record a hole-in-one at No. 17 and a birdie at No. 18 in the same round…Kurt Kitayama, winner of last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, sits T71 after carding 1-over 73.