Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri has been slotted for a late tee off but fellow Asian An Byeong-hun put himself up high on the leaderboard in early play on the opening day of the PLAYERS Championships on Thursday.
Lahiri, who is playing with fellow Asian Kiradech Aphibarnrat and American Ryan Blaum, will tee off later.
South Korean An was four-under through 14 holes and he shared the lead with four others including Brendon Steele (through 12), Billy Horschel (through 10), Dustin Johnson (through nine) and Brandon Harkins (through seven).
Interestingly, all of them started on the back nine and the player with the best score starting from the first was Matt Wallace, three-under 13.
The highlight of An’s play so far was a birdie on the Island Green on the par-3 17th, where he hit his tee shot to inside five feet and holed it.
After 13 holes, he had five birdies and no bogeys before he dropped a shot on par-4 fifth, where he went from the left rough off the tee to right fairway bunker with the iron and then missed a 10 footer for par.
Some of the big names had contrasting fortunes. Dustin Johnson, who has never had a Top-10 at the PLAYERS in 10 previous starts, opened strongly with four-under 32 on back nine, while Justin Rose had begun to suffer, after starting on the back nine. He began with nine pars, but triple bogeyed the first.
Rory McIlroy was three-under through eight on the back nine, including a birdie on par-3 17th, and Tommy Fleetwood was three-under through 11.
Also at three-under through 10 holes was Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm was three-under through nine, as was Sergio Garcia.
Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott were among those yet to start.