Solid start for Sheffield's Matt Fitzpatrick at Players Championship

Sheffield’s Matt Fitzpatrick put himself into contention for a fine weekend at the Players Championship after shooting an opening day 68.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 6:58 pm

Fitzpatrick shot his best ever round at Sawgrass, finishing the first round three shots off clubhouse leader Sergio Garcia, at the time tied second with Canada’s Corey Connors.

Birdies on the first and third and an eagle on the par-five ninth sent Fitzpatrick into the back nine in good stead.

The 26-year-old missed a good chance to move further ahead when he three-putted the long 11th for par, before dropping his first shot of the day on the short par-four 12th.

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Matthew Fitzpatrick plays his shot from the 14th tee during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

His second bogey on the par three 17th threatened to end the day on a low point but he rallies for par on the final hole before admitting that his approach to the tournament this year ha been very different to what it has been in the past.

“I’ve learned more as I’ve come, really,” he told Sky Sports. “I think the first two times I’ve come I’ve played it a bit more agrressive and not really had a plan but today I was more disciplined, [thinking] par is a good score and it’s just about avoiding the bogies.”

He added: “We planned on just trying to hit a lot of greens and giving yourself chances. It was a good score in the end.

"On paper it’s a good score, don’t get me wrong I’ve had a bit of luck with a couple of chip ins, one of those could have been a bit more.

"It’s a golf course you have got to be switched on the whole time and plot your way around so that’s all we’re trying to do and if I can make a few putts then happy days.”