The 2014 Players Championship got off to a high-flying start with a handful of golfers posting low rounds, but none were more dominating than Martin Kaymer.
The Germany international posted a round of 63 to go for nine under par on Thursday's Day 1. His bogey-less round started off hot with birdies on seven of the first nine holes, and he finished with two on the back nine.
Not far behind are Russell Henley and Sang-Moon Bae, who are two and three strokes back after Day 1, respectively. But in total, there are 28 players within six shots of Kaymer's two-stroke lead—meaning anything could unfold in the final three days.
Let's break down everything you need to know for Day 2 of action from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
The Players: Day 2
When: Friday, May 8 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
TV: Golf Channel
Live Stream: Golf Channel's Golf Live Extra
Visit PGATour.com for a full list of Day 2 tee times.
Day 2 Storylines
Can Kaymer Keep Going?
Solid rounds were seen all over the place on Day 1 at TPC Sawgrass, but one stood apart from the rest.
Kaymer's 63 on Thursday earned him a spot in the tournament's record books, per the official Twitter:
First back-nine 29 in THE PLAYERS Championship history. Your leader Martin Kaymer at -9 under after rd. 1 pic.twitter.com/TFuga7YCAW— THE PLAYERS (@THEPLAYERSChamp) May 8, 2014
Starting out with a flurry of birdies, the 29-year-old didn't slow down after beginning with a good pace. He rattled off four straight birdies to close out the front nine.
Of course, this isn't the first time Kaymer has been in the spotlight of the golf world. The former No. 1 golfer in the world has already notched a major victory at the 2010 PGA Championship, and a tied-for-18th finish last weekend at Wells Fargo boded well for him entering The Players.
Despite his historic opening round, Kaymer's journey has just begun. He's only two strokes ahead of the field, and with so many golfers close behind, he'll need to be at his best a few more times at TPC Sawgrass.
Will Rory McIlroy Bounce Back?
When McIlroy brings his best game and has the breaks go his way, he's unstoppable even when pegged against the world's best golfers.
So far at TPC Sawgrass, he hasn't been.
The Northern Irish golfer started out under par, with a round of 70 score good for two under. But as solid of a score as that may be, he's still already seven shots back after just one day of golf.
McIlroy's round looked to start with promise Thursday as he birdied his first two holes, but three bogeys on the rest of the front nine spoiled his chances of grabbing one of the top spots on the leaderboard entering the back nine, where he shot three under but couldn't make a serious surge.
But per the Irish Indepedent's James Corrigan, McIlroy is becoming increasingly comfortable at TPC—a place where he struggled:
"The TPC is growing on me," he said last month. "I actually have looked forward to going there in the last couple of years."
McIlroy can't afford for more rounds of 70 throughout the final three days. He needs to get into the mid-60s at least once or twice to have a shot at climbing to the top of the leaderboard, and so far at TPC, he doesn't have it.
Hopefully for McIlroy, his getting used to TPC will result in more success throughout the weekend.
Can Jordan Spieth Turn 2014 Success Into Win?
Jordan Spieth has come on in 2014 unlike any other golfer in the world. The 20-year-old has gone from amateur star to near Masters winner and American golf icon in less than a year.
But if you ask him, it's incomplete. Why? He hasn't won anything.
Per NBC's Golf Central:
“Plenty of chances to win… It’s eating at me a little haven’t taken advantage of one of them yet.” - Jordan Spieth #ThePlayers— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) May 7, 2014
Spieth's 2014 season has been something to behold. After a second-place finish on Jan. 3 at the Hyundai Tournament, Spieth tied for fourth at Pebble Beach and finished in 10th at the Texas Open. All of those came before his oft-mentioned Masters run, where he nearly won before Bubba Watson emerged with a fantastic Day 4 and took home his second green jacket.
At TPC Sawgrass, Spieth has kept up his hot streak. He shot a five-under round of 67 on the day, tied for fourth in the field after a bogey-free round with five birdies.
Even though he's just 20, Spieth has played well beyond his years. Moving forward, it's hard to expect much different from the youngster.
When you enter the final round of the Masters with a share of the lead and shoot even par, not much else phases you. Spieth has come so close to victory at a huge tournament and ended up just short, and his ability to learn from that will pay dividends at TPC.