PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Jason Day created a far better memory Thursday than his last round at the TPC Sawgrass. Not only was he 18 shots better, the world's No. 1 player tied the course record with a 9-under 63 that gave him a two-shot lead in The Players Championship.
In a game that can defy logic, and on a course that can be perplexing, Day had a simple explanation for bouncing back from last year's 81.
The 28-year-old Australian was in such control that he putted for birdie on every hole. He made half of them, and his longest par putt was 30 inches. It helped that there was hardly any wind on a steaming morning that made Sawgrass more vulnerable than usual.
The wind began to increase in the afternoon and it made a big difference. Of the 40 rounds in the 60s, 29 of those were in the morning. Boo Weekley had the low score in the afternoon at 66. The 40 rounds in the 60s and 82 rounds under par were the most for an opening round since 1993 at The Players.
Day had only the fifth round of 63 at the Stadium Course in the 35 years of The Players Championship.
Shane Lowry became the first player to shoot 29 on the back nine. He was in the group at 65 that included Justin Rose and Bill Haas. Ernie Els, who just last month started the Masters with a six-putt quintuple bogey, ran off six birdies and an eagle to lead the group at 66.
Not everyone took advantage of the morning, including Jordan Spieth. Spieth, in his first tournament since he lost a five-shot lead on the back nine at Augusta National, played alongside Day and labored his way to a 72. He ended his round with a double bogey by taking five shots to get up-and-down from a bunker behind the green on the par-5 ninth.
Rory McIlroy also had a 72.
BEAU CHAMPS, Mauritius (AP) – Australia's Andrew Dodt shot a 6-under 66 to take the first-round lead in the Mauritius Open.
Dodt had an eagle and six birdies on the Ernie Els-designed Four Seasons on the east coast of the Indian Ocean island. India's Rashid Khan and Banglasesh's Siddikur Rahman were tied for second at 68.
The tournament is sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.