Steve Jones leads after first round

Former US Open champion Steve Jones stole the spotlight from the big names on Thursday with an 8-under 64 in The Players Championship.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:49 IST
  • Total Shares


Former US Open champion Steve Jones stole the spotlight from the big names on Thursday with an 8-under 64, giving him a one-shot lead over Fred Funk, Zach Johnson and Lee Westwood after the opening round of The Players Championship. The TPC boasts the strongest field of the year with 82 of the top 100 in the world rankings playing. And with soft, receptive greens, players were able to attack the pins Thursday, making for some phenomenal shots by the world's best. Estes opens strong Bob Estes holed his approach shot on the par 4 12th hole for eagle en route to an opening round of 67. Estes was among a group of five players tied at 5-under par that included Vijay Singh and Padraig Harrington. Not to be outdone, Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke turned in an impressive eagle of his own when he holed his approach shot on the par 4 4th hole. Clarke couldn't keep the momentum going and finished at 1-over-par 73. Thomas Bjorn began his round with a triple-bogey on the 10th hole, but an almost identical shot to Clarke's on the 4th hole helped the Dane recover and finish among a group of 10 at 3-under par. Defending Champion Adam Scott also finished at 3-under and was among the group of ten players at 69 that also included Retief Goosen and Jesper Parnevik. Scott's compatriot Craig Parry eagled the par-5 11th hole to finish one stroke better and was at 4-under par after his opening round. Tiger Woods failed to birdie any of the par 5s until his last hole and shot 70. Woods birdied two of his first three holes, but was aggravated over missing three birdie putts inside 8 feet. Ernie Els started on the back nine and was made the turn at two-under, but the South African played the front nine at 1-over and finished with a 71. Singh in form Singh continued to show the best form of the Big Four (Woods, Els, Mickelson, Singh), matching his best start ever at the TPC with a 5-under 67 that was highlighted by two good par saves in the middle of his round and a mammoth tee shot on the 18th that set up a birdie. Harrington, the runner up at the TPC for the last two years, was near the top of the leaderboard again after a solid round of 5-under-67. Garcia was a shot better at 66. The 25-year-old Spaniard had the shot of the day when he ripped a 3-wood from 281 yards over a tree and onto the green at the ninth, where it rolled by the hole to about 8 feet. But Garcia missed that eagle putt and settled for birdie. Lee Westwood played a bogey free round of 7-under Thursday. He had a chance to join Jones at the top, but missed a 5-foot birdie putt on his final hole, the par-5 ninth. The birdies came in bunches for Jones, who hasn't won since 1998 and missed all of last season due to an elbow injury. He made seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch to take sole possession of first place after one round. (AP)