Ian Poulter & Martin Laird Share Lead In The Opening Round At The Players Championship

Ian Poulter and Martin Laird, both of Britain share the opening lead of the Players Championship.

Both players fired a seven under 65. American Blake Adams was one shot back in solo at second spot.

Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald ended level par with Lee Westwood one under and Tiger Woods two over par.

Poulter, runner-up to Swede Henrik Stenson three years ago, knocked two strokes off his previous best score on the course and described it as one of the top 10 rounds of his career.

As for the top three Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, competing for world top spot was a day of mixed fortunes.

McIlroy, who came second when he was defeated to the young American Rickie Fowler at Quail Hollow last week, was going best until he went in the water on the short 17th.

The 23 year old world no. 1 took five and finished with a 72 like Donald, who birdied the same hole, while Westwood matched Phil Mickelson’s 71 with a round that included seven birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey on the seventh.

Woods, the 14-time major champion, came to the Players after his eighth career missed cut at Quail Hollow last week and was in danger of failing to reach the weekend again.

The 36-year-old former world no. 1 won the 2001 Players Championship but has struggled at the course in recent years, withdrawing last year after nine holes with left knee pain and in 2010 he withdrew with 12 holes left in the final round due to a neck injury.

Two players have withdrawn from the competition, Paul Casey withdrew with a shoulder injury. The Briton was inactive for more than two months after dislocating his shoulder snowboarding in December.

Spaniard Angel Cabrera also withdrew for personal reason.

Phil Mickelson, who was enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame on Monday, shot a one-under 71.

Players Championship opening round leaderboard:

-7: Martin Laird (Scotland), Ian Poulter (England)
-6: Blake Adams (US)
-5: Kevin Na (US), Ben Crane (US)
-4: Michael Thompson (US), H Frazar (US), Matt Kuchar (US), Kevin Stadler (US), Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela), Adam Scott (Australia), Bill Haas (US), Ben Curtis (US), Jonathan Byrd (US), Brian Davis (England), Sang Moon Bae (South Korea)

Selected others:
-3: Padraig Harrington (Ireland)
-1: L Westwood (England), P Mickelson (US)
Even: R McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Luke Donald (England)
+2: Tiger Woods (US)

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