Just had two holes get away from me.
Despite his early birdie barrage, Day did crash back to earth a bit with three bogeys on his last four holes to shoot a two-under 70.
It was a solid start for the former world No. 1, who has just one top-10 finish in 2017.
A more logical explanation would be the exacting nature of TPC Sawgrass, which had McIlroy scrambling and head-shaking his way through a back nine that featured two double bogeys. "Obviously there's so much water here and there's no real easy recovery from the water". One bad shot put him in one bad place - off the cart path at No. 7 and so deep in the trees that it took him two shots to get back to the fairway. McGirt played in the morning and made bogey on the 18th hole.
That concerted effort certainly paid dividends because he didn't miss a cut the rest of 2016 and carried the streak until the Shell Houston Open in late March.
One of the new clubs in his bag is a one-iron - something he made good use of on a course which demands accuracy.
Jason Day had the lead in the morning and looked as though he was determined to be the first back-to-back victor at The Players.
A hole-in-one at the famous 17th hole lifted the mood of Masters champion Sergio Garcia on an otherwise frustrating day for the Spaniard in the first round at the Players Championship on Thursday.
Hughes tied for the lead Thursday in scrambling, converting all five of his up-and-down opportunities. "You are sitting there going, 'Man, that's all I think about is golf. and getting to No. 1 in the world'". "I started the day, I wouldn't have expected a round like that".
"I guess it's just from building it up, playing through and then not doing anything for three weeks and then coming back last weekend and hitting balls for four or five hours a day".
Speaking about a round containing two birdies and one bogey, the newly-married four-time major victor said: "Today it seemed like the golf course should be gettable but no-one really posted any low numbers".
Beginning his day at the 10th hole, Fowler made the turn at four under.
Garcia is also on level par, with Masters runner-up Justin Rose on one over. And no, this is arguably the strongest field in golf, on a golf course that creates a great test, and you got to hit pretty much - you're going to have to hit every kind of shot around this golf course throughout the week, and that's what's great about it.
"I hit two ideal shots and I make a five on No. 1", he said. He could accept this 71 just because of all that went wrong - the wedge that hit the pin on No. 1, birdie putts that spun around the holes at Nos. Scott followed by spinning a shot off the bank and into the water for a double bogey, and he compounded that with another double bogey. I'd rather just get a nice practice session. "I'm OK with the round".
"Game's in really good shape", Spieth said, per Gray.