Day leads in Florida

Jason Day lived up to his status as the world’s number one golfer as he charged into a two-shot lead with a record-tying nine-under-par 63 in Thursday’s opening round of the Players Championship at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Taking advantage of a receptive layout at the TPC Sawgrass with very little rough and barely a breath of wind early on a sun-drenched day ripe for low scoring, the long-hitting Australian piled up nine birdies in a bogey-free display.

Though he rued a missed birdie opportunity at the par-three eighth, his penultimate hole, Day picked up five shots over the closing stretch to become just the fifth player to card a 63 at the event widely regarded as the unofficial fifth major.

“I played solid from tee to green and I was very confident with my putter,” Day told Golf Channel after finishing two ahead of Americans Cameron Tringale, Bill Haas and Brendan Steele, England’s Justin Rose and Ireland’s Shane Lowry.

“Just got things going. Unfortunately it didn’t go in on eight,” he said of a narrow miss with a 40-foot putt at the eighth that would have given him a birdie-birdie-birdie finish.

“I really wanted to hole that putt to then try and give myself a birdie on nine to beat the record but I will take tying the course record.”

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