Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge shared the lead at the end of Thursday at The Players Championship, but the pair had not yet seen all of their challengers in action.

Dismal weather in Florida pushed back the start to the opening round and then further delays followed, with heavy rainfall and storms in the area hampering the tournament.

Fleetwood and Hoge were the players best able to negotiate the tricky conditions, although others were yet to start at the close of play.

Big names including Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson were still early in their rounds when play was suspended due to darkness.

Fleetwood, who missed the cut last year after top-10 finishes at The Players in 2018 and 2019, started a little slowly on the back nine but found his rhythm at the turn.

Seven birdies and a bogey saw the Englishman card a six-under 66, which was matched by Hoge – who also started on the back nine – after his eagle at the par-five second.

"For sure, that was the most I could have got out of the round," Fleetwood said. "So, days like that are very, very pleasing."

It could still have been a three-way tie at the top, with Saudi International champion Harold Varner III denied at least a share of the lead by a late-round collapse.

After seven birdies through 16 holes, including five on the back nine, Varner became the first player to find the water at the 17th and signed for a triple-bogey.

That was followed by a bogey at the last that left him three adrift of Fleetwood and Hoge.

"That's what you get a lot out here," Varner said. "Either you get it done or you don't."