EDDIE Pepperell birdied the renowned 17th hole at Sawgrass as he made a solid start to The Players Championship.

The golfer from Abingdon's two at the Island Green, which is surrounded by water, ensured he finished with a flourish in an opening round of 72.

Level par saw him in the middle of the field, with many players still out on the course.

The Frilford Heath member made a blistering start, picking up a shot at the first hole thanks to an approach which landed within three feet of the pin.

He found bunkers at the third and fourth, where successive bogeys took him over par.

The 28-year-old got back to level par thanks to a birdie at the par five 11th hole, but he found sand again two holes later to drop a shot at the short 13th.

A 19-foot putt at the 17th repaired the damage and he had a chance from a similar range at the last, but had to settle for a par.

Englishman Tommy Fleetwood was the pick of the early starters, shooting to the top of the leaderboard after carding a seven-under-par 65.

Pepperell will begin his second round at 6.30pm (GMT) on Friday.