Golf star’s ‘total nightmare’ stuns viewersRory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot on the 14th hole during the first round of The Players Championship.

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American golfer Kevin Na has proven even the professionals endure horror days on the course, stunning viewers with a cataclysmic choke at The Players Championship on Thursday.

Competing at the Players Stadium Course in Florida, Na needed four attempts to land the ball on the green of the infamous 17th — his first three drives all finding the water.

In the end, the 37-year-old chipped in from the edge of the green for a rare no-putt quintuple-bogey 8 on the par three.

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Na ultimately withdrew from the event citing back soreness.

Surrounded by water, the 17th is by no means an easy hole, and caught out several other competitors at Thursday’s event — Korean Byeong Hun An mustered an unbelievable 11 on the par three.

The 28-year-old put his first four shots in the water and two putted for the second highest score ever on the hole.

In total, there were 35 balls put in the water at the 17th in the opening round at The Players Championship.

Rory McIlroy showed even the best are fallible with a hacker-like quadruple bogey eight to close out the first round of his title defence.

The former world number one put two balls into the giant expanse of water to the left of the fairway at the 18th to walk off the TPC Sawgrass course with a seven-over-par 79.

That was a massive 14 shots adrift of opening round leader, and McIlroy’s playing partner, Sergio Garcia.

McIlroy, who started his day with a double-bogey, is staring down the barrel of missing the cut at the $19.5 million event.

McIlroy said it was hard to recover from his horrible start when he was “trying to figure it out as you go along”.

“You’re trying to figure it out but you still know you’re not really sure where the shots are coming from and then it’s sort of as I said earlier in the week, it’s hard to at least to try to eliminate one side of the golf course, basically,” a deflated McIlroy said after his round.

“I mean obviously the big number on 18 didn’t help and then doubling the first wasn’t helpful either. So yeah, I just think just it’s hard to recover when you just haven’t played good. I mean regardless if you take that 18th hole out it still wasn’t a very good day.”

Garcia said you didn’t have to be far off “to get penalised a lot” but said McIlroy could come back.

“Unfortunately, he didn’t hit a good tee shot on the first, on the 10th hole, made double, which is never the kind of start you want,” he said.,

“And then just a couple, just a little bit off and just missed a couple of birdies, feels like you’re not making any ground, you try to force things a little bit and obviously unfortunately for him it bit him a little bit.

“But I told him when we finished, just go out there tomorrow and get it and you never know, I shot 7-under so he can shoot 7-under tomorrow and hopefully make the cut. So we’ll see. He’s able to do it.”

— with NCA NewsWire

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