PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Tyler McCumber’s first round in The Players Championship was a success.
Now, on to Friday.
McCumber, a Nease High and University of Florida graduate, shot an even-par 72 in his debut at TPC Sawgrass. McCumber, who teed off on No. 10 in the first morning group, birdied his final hole of the round on No. 9 to finish the day even.
“I didn’t really know what my first round at The Players would feel like, but it was pretty awesome,” McCumber said.
Pretty awesome, indeed.
McCumber finished strong, sticking his approach just 4 feet, 9 inches from the cup. He sank his birdie putt and will make the turn into Friday’s round with a bit of confidence. He’s well off the lead — Sergio Garcia finished Thursday’s round at 7-under 65 — but McCumber is positioned well to make it into the weekend.
McCumber knows TPC Sawgrass very well.
He grew up in Ponte Vedra Beach and played the course often throughout both high school and later in college. And his father, Mark, played the tournament 20 times, made the cut in 14 of those, and won it in 1988.
Going out in the first group, McCumber said, was a positive, because the course was in such pristine condition.
“I think it’s a plus, yeah [playing early]. Really good greens, even though the greens are good regardless of when you play right now,” he said. “Just sort of the normal tendencies for when you’re first off you normally get calmer conditions, maybe a bit more receptive greens. But overall I think it was nice to just get out and get the round in this morning.”
Bragging rights in the McCumber household may be on the line, too.
Mark shot a 2-under 70 in his first tournament round in The Players. Of course, that was in 1979 when the event was played at neighboring Sawgrass Country Club. Mark finished T-35 in his first Players.
“He came out of his office yesterday talking golf, and I said, ‘you know the rule, no golf when we’re away from the course,’” Tyler said.