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Jason Day shoots record-equalling round at Players Championship

• Shane Lowry and Justin Rose two behind leader at Sawgrass
• Jordan Spieth level-par 72, Danny Willett signs for 70

The angst Jordan Spieth suffered by virtue of closing his opening round at the Players Championship with a seven, the one number that may bring him out in a cold sweat, surely intensified with a glance towards one of the his playing partners. Jason Day, who has succeeded Spieth as the world No1, endorsed his status once more with a course record-equalling 63. Day had birdie putts at all 18 holes.

As Day tapped in for birdie at the 9th, their 18th, Spieth was about to three putt for a double bogey. Spieth’s frustration at a 72 on a day of generally excellent scoring was compounded by that seven; the same scorecard aberration that fatally undermined his hopes of defending the Masters, owing to a capitulation at Augusta National’s 12th hole. Spieth later insisted his Thursday score did not appropriately represent his performance. “I really only had two bad swings today,” he said. “I’m hitting the ball great.”

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