- Martin Kaymer leads TPC at Sawgrass
- Shoots record tying 63 in first round
- Russell Henley in second place two shots back
- Jordan Spieth in big group in tie for fourth
Germany's Martin Kaymer ripped through his final nine holes in a record breaking 29 shots to take the first round lead with a course record tying 63 in the Players Championship at Sawgrass Thursday.
Kaymer, who started on the 10th, was two-under-par through the turn but then carded an incredible seven birdies on the front nine.
He finished with four in a row, including a tap-in birdie four on the ninth to become the first man to shoot lower than 30 on either the front of back nine of the famous course in Florida.
The 29-year-old Kaymer, who took the PGA Championship in 2010 and went to world number one the following year, has not won since November 2011 and struggled for form in 2013, his first full year of campaigning on the PGA Tour.
But he will hold a two-shot lead over Honda Classic winner Russell Henley heading into the second round, with Sang Moon-Bae of Korea on 66 and a clutch on big names on five-under 67.
They include last year's runner-up in the 'fifth major' -- Spain's Sergio Garcia -- and 20-year-old Masters hero Jordan Spieth, who pushed Bubba Watson all the way at Augusta.
"I felt comfortable all day," Spieth said. "Felt comfortable from really the first hole."
Justin Rose, the reigning U.S. Open champion was also on that mark along with fellow Englishman Lee Westwood, who was in the first group out.
Watson, Australian Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar and Swede Henrik Stenson, who can all claim the world number one spot from the absent reigning Players champion Tiger Woods, were not challenging the first day leader on a day of low-scoring.
There was also frustration for Phil Mickelson, who carded a three-over 75 and is in danger of missing the cut.
"It's soft, there's just a lot of birdies out there," Mickelson said. "Yeah, it's a little disappointing and frustrating."
Kaymer took full advantage to become the fourth player in the tournament's history to shoot a 63, the others Greg Norman, Fred Couples and Roberto Castro.
"I didn't make many mistakes," Kaymer said. "Today was a very special round," he told the official PGA Tour website.
If he can turn his fine start into a victory, he will become only the fourth European winner in 41 attempts at the prestigious event.
Woods is missing his defense as he recovers from back surgery with no time frame given for his return.