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Published: 08:32 | 13/5/16

Record show from Lowry at Players


Jason Day became only the fifth player to fire a 63 at TPC Sawgrass to take the lead on the opening day of the Players Championship, but Ireland's Shane Lowry is just two off the lead after entering the record books.

Lowry reached the turn in level par after a steady opening nine but a spectacular back nine propelled him up the leaderboard to sit just two strokes behind Day.

The 29-year-old holed a 35-foot putt for birdie on the tenth before chipping in for eagle on the par-five 11th. Further birdies arrived on the 12th and 13th, while he birdied the par-five 16th to move six-under-par.

Having missed from ten feet on the 17th, the Offaly man found the hole from 12 feet on his final hole to complete a tournament-record 29 on the back nine.

"Being honest, I was not very confident starting this week," said Lowry.

"I had a bit of an emergency phone call with my coach this morning before I played. I just wanted to get some feelings off my chest. Things have not been going well and I did not feel comfortable on the golf course.

"I started okay today and then obviously got going on the back nine and it's always nice to shoot 29 at some stage."

Starting on the back nine, Day began with three straight birdies and added a fourth at the infamous 17th to reach the turn in four-under-par. The world number one carded back-to-back birdies at the start of his back nine before picking up shots at the fourth, seventh and ninth to sign for a flawless 63.

"I played solid from tee to green and I was very confident with my putter. I just got things going, but unfortunately it didn't go in on eight. 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," Day said.

"It's been a long week because it's been hot and I just felt really tired all day for some reason. That kind of distracted me from anything else.

"The scores here are so low. When you shoot a nine-under-par round, you expect - especially on this course - to have a decent lead. I've got only a two-shot lead and there's a slew of guys that are at seven under and at six and five (under)."

Justin Rose, Bill Haas, Brendan Steele and Cameron Tringale ended the day in a share of second alongside Lowry, while Jordan Spieth could only manage a level-par 72.

Playing alongside Day in his first appearance since his collapse on the final day of the Masters, Spieth reached the turn in level par but made good progress as he made three consecutive birdies from the second.

However, he gave two of the shots back at the fifth and sixth before recovering one with a birdie on the seventh only to double-bogey his final hole to finish nine shots behind his playing partner.

Spieth is in a share of 83rd alongside Rory McIlroy who struggled to get going during his opening round. The world number three carded eight pars and a bogey on the front nine but was level par with three holes to play before dropping a shot at the 16th. He recovered with a birdie two at the 17th and parred the last to sign for an opening 72.

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