Thursday's Golf Capsules

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Coming off his worst performance in nearly a year, Nick Watney looked better than ever Thursday in The Players Championship with an 8-under 64 that put him atop the leaderboard.

Coming off what he described as a “minor injury,” Tiger Woods looked to be in big trouble.

Nine holes into his first tournament since the Masters, Woods said he couldn’t go on. He withdrew after his highest nine-hole score at this event — a 42 — and had no idea when he might return.

“I’m having a hard time walking,” Woods said.

Watney opened with three straight birdies, didn’t let a double bogey slow his momentum, and finished with his best score ever on the TPC Sawgrass — his previous best was a 68 — to take a one-shot lead over Lucas Glover, the winner last week at Quail Hollow.

The surprise came from 54-year-old Mark O’Meara, who qualified by winning the Seniors Player Championship and who played nine holes of practice rounds with Woods the last two days.

O’Meara finished with a long birdie on the 18th for a 66 in his first round at Sawgrass in eight years.

Davis Toms also had a 66, and he managed to do that without a single bogey on his card.

Watney had not missed the cut since last June when he had rounds of 76-75 for an early departure last week at Quail Hollow. Instead of letting it get him down, he came to Florida to practice and then came out firing.

PGA champion Martin Kaymer, who can return to No. 1 in the world by winning or finishing alone in second, opened with a 67 and became part of the biggest news of the day. He was in the group with Matt Kuchar and Woods, although it became a twosome on the back nine when Woods left.

U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell also was at 67 along with Rory Sabbatini, Alvaro Quiros and Fredrik Jacobson.

Iberdrola Open

SON SERVERA, Spain (AP) — Gregory Bourdy shot a course-record 7-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Iberdrola Open.

The 29-year-old Frenchman had nine birdies and two bogeys on the Pula Golf Club course. He won the 2007 Mallorca Open on the course for the his first of his three European Tour titles.

England’s Danny Willett was second, and Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke and England’s Matthew Nixon opened with 65s. European Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal shot a 71, and Colin Montgomerie had a 77 after both missed the practice round Wednesday to attend Spanish star Seve Ballesteros’ funeral.


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