Thursday, 08 May 2014
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano  (PA)
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (PA)
Lee Westwood and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño shrugged off unusually early starts to claim a share of the clubhouse lead in the first round of The Players Championship.

Westwood was in the first group out at 0715 local time at Sawgrass but showed no ill effects to compile a flawless five under par 67 and finish alongside Spain's Fernandez-Castaño and American Brian Stuard.

"It's probably been about 21 years since I was the first ball in the air at a tournament," Westwood told reporters after his round. 

The 41 year old Englishman, who won his 41st worldwide title in Malaysia last month, birdied the first, second and sixth to reach the turn in 33 and also picked up shots at the 12th and 16th before safely negotiating the iconic 17th.

The par three with its island green is the hole which cost Sergio Garcia his chance of victory last year, but the Spaniard had also safely made par on his return and picked up six birdies elsewhere to lie six under with five holes to play.

Fernandez-Castaño, playing in the second group out, reached the par five second in two and although he missed his eagle putt, it provided one of seven birdies.

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