Rory McIlory, Jordan Spieth jump-start Players Championship

Rory McIlroy-Jordan Spieth pairing adds some buzz to Thursday's first round at the Players Championship

When he saw the pairings for the Players Championship, Rory McIlroy could not help feeling excited about playing beside Jordan Spieth.

"It's always nice when you're a part of a group that's got a little bit of a buzz around it," he said.

On Thursday morning, McIlroy turned that good feeling into a solid start, shooting two under par through the first 10 holes at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and finishing the round at three-under 69 in a group of 14 players tied for 11th.

Things did not go quite as well for Spieth, who stood at two over through 10 holes and finished at three-over 75. Still, the grouping of the No. 1-ranked player and the recent Masters winner added something special to a tournament known as golf's unofficial fifth major.

Among other big-name players to head the wrong direction in the opening round were Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who each shot one-over 73, which is tied for 77th.

Charley Hoffman, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na and David Hearn are the first-round leaders after each shot five-under 67.

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5:02 p.m.: This report has been updated with final first-round scores. It was originally published at 9:26 a.m.

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