Garcia’s ace a rose amongst the thorns

Sergia Garcia rescued his round with a superb hole-in-one on day one of The Players Championship on Thursday.

The Masters champion woke up the late afternoon crowd with a stunning wedge that checked on the slick putting surface and found it's way into the cup on TPC Sawgrass' iconic island green at the 17th.

"It was nice to see it bounce and kind of spin back into the hole," the Spaniard told pgatour.com.

"It is tricky. It's not easy. It's probably one of the hardest 125 or 140 yard shots that we get all year with the greens being firm like they are."

The ace – the eighth in history on the famous hole – was part of a resurgent second nine from Garcia, who struggled in the opening nine, making the turn at four over par. 

Garcia blames post-Masters jitters, as it was his first professional round since winning the Green Jacket at Augusta.

"I felt like I was a little bit up in the clouds, and when I woke up, I was 4 over after 6," quipped Garcia.

"That didn't help, but then I started hitting better shots, started hitting better putts, and at least we were able to salvage a round there at the end that if we have a good day tomorrow, we still have a solid chance going into the weekend.

"Tomorrow I want to come out there, concentrate like I should, and if I can manage to shoot 4 or 5 under tomorrow, I'm still going to have a great chance. An under-par round tomorrow will be key to get back in it."

Birdies on the tenth and 16th, along with a bogey and the ace on 17 saw him finish one over par, six shots behind leading duo William McGirt and Mackenzie Hughes. 

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