Golf world loses it over astonishing scenes at The Players Championship

Golf fans have been left in disbelief after the incredible moment at The Players Championship.

Pictured here, Hayden Buckley celebrated his hole-in-one on the signature Island Green 17th at The Players Championship.
Hayden Buckley scored a stunning hole-in-one on the signature Island Green 17th at The Players Championship. Pic: Getty

American Hayden Buckley has sent the golf world into meltdown after taming the famed 'Island Green' at The Players Championship with a stunning hole-in-one. Buckley left viewers in disbelief after hitting what was unquestionably the shot of the opening round at TPC Sawgrass on the most iconic hole on the PGA Tour.

Compatriot Chad Ramey went into the clubhouse in Florida as the surprise first round leader after carding an 8-under par round of 64. However, it was Buckley who stole many of the headlines with a perfect tee-shot at the treacherous 17th hole.

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The Island Green's reputation for swallowing golf balls was on full show during an opening round in which at least 16 players found the water at the 137-yard par three 17th. However, it didn't take long for the signature hole to play host to the first unforgettable moment at this year's 'fifth major'.

Playing in just the second group to take on one of golf's most daunting holes, Buckley hit a perfect pitching wedge that landed near the centre of the green, spun back beautifully to catch the slope and rolled perfectly into the left corner of the cup. Buckley roared in delight after watching the ball nestle into the cup in a moment that left the golfing world in a frenzy.

Chad Ramey leads after first round

Unfortunately for Buckley, the American finished the opening round on plus-one, a whopping nine shots off the lead held by Ramey. The American holds a one-shot advantage over compatriot Collin Morikawa, while Canadian Taylor Pendrith shot a five-under 67 and World No.2 Scottie Scheffler was in a group of players on four-under.

World No.3 Rory McIlroy struggled in round one after making a double bogey on the first hole and three more bogeys on his way to a four-over-par 76. The Northern Irishman, who won the event in 2019, struggled off the tee and said that was something that he could ill-afford on an unforgiving TPC Sawgrass course.

"I feel like this is as penal as I've seen it out of the rough for a long time. I think you'd have to go back to when the tournament was played in May, when we were in Bermuda rough, for it to be as penal as that. Yeah, you don't hit it on the fairway here, you're going to struggle," he said.

Seen here, Rory McIlroy at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
Rory McIlroy will need something special in his second round to avoid missing the cut at The Players Championship. Pic: Getty

McIlroy, who will be battling to make the cut as he sits 12 shots behind Ramey, indicated that he was not comfortable with his new driver. "I wish I could use my driver from last year, but I can't just because of - you use a driver for so long, and...basically it just wouldn't pass the test. I've just struggled a little bit off the tee the last couple of weeks."

Aussie stars Min Woo Lee and Cam Davis flew the flag proudly for Australia in the absence of reigning champion Cameron Smith, who is banned from playing on the PGA Tour after joining LIV Golf. Lee fired a four-under par 68, which was spoiled only by a late lapse, and Davis a 69 to sit four and fives shot off the lead, respectively.

Lee quickly demonstrated why the Australian challenge in 2023 can't be discounted as he briefly led the tournament while racing to six under after 13 holes, only then to slip up with two bogeys at the final two holes. Davis had six birdies and three bogeys in his round as he sat inside the top-10.

with agencies

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