"Even when you are aggressive and you miss, it's a touch easier to get yourself back into position". I feel like it was hard to read the greens.
Fleetwood and Bradley lead South Korea's Byeong Hun An and American Brian Harman (66) by one, while four-time major victor Rory McIlroy is five under courtesy of a 67.
Every year 100,000 balls are retrieved from the waters around the 17th hole at the TPC Sawgrass but on Thursday fans watched a golfer pull one out of the hole for just the ninth time after Ryan Moore struck a hole-in-one at the Players Championship.
The effort helped lift him to within two shots of the lead, along with Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and compatriot Vaughn Taylor, after a 67.
But with the green surrounded by a pond with only a small path connecting it to the mainland, the 17th is famed course designer Pete Dye's most diabolical creation and one of the golf world's most famous holes.
Tiger Woods was among those with a late tee time.
Fleetwood, who played the back nine first, did not take advantage of still conditions early, instead making his move after the wind had started to make its presence felt.
"(When) you roll out 50 new changes there are going to be some things that work well and some that create debate. It really doesn't matter if you hit the water or the green at that point, it's just an incredibly feeling playing a hole where some of the legends have hit incredible shots that live in the memories of the game forever.
World number 13 Fleetwood has won four times on the European Tour, but is still seeking his breakthrough on the PGA Tour.
He came close a year ago at the U.S. Open, where he finished a stroke behind champion Brooks Koepka after a closing 63. "I didn't have the swing that I have now".
Bradley sounded nearly serene after his 65.
Players also have to contend with thousands of howling spectators, tricky winds and the pressure of knowing one wayward shot on a Sunday could sink their hopes of claiming golf's unofficial fifth major.
"I don't normally feel as comfortable as I did today".
"I was watching it in the morning and it looked like you can make so many birdies and when I got out on the front nine, it was like which golf course was I watching", said Lahiri.
The tenacious Indian holed a seven-footer for his opening birdie on the par-5 second hole before dropping his lone bogey on the eighth.