Day, Scott on pace at Players Championship

Jason Day, Adam Scott and Tiger Woods sit five shots from the lead after the first round at the Players Championship in Florida.

15-Mar-2019 By Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press
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Adam Scott admits he will need a hot second round start at TPC Sawgrass to avoid letting the Players Championship slip away in Florida.

Scott and countryman Jason Day finished the first round of golf's unofficial fifth major five strokes behind the lead after they battled Thursday afternoon winds.

The pair signed for a creditable two-under-par 70, while in-form Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and Keegan Bradley shared the lead at seven under with 65s.

Fleetwood and Bradley lead South Korea's Byeong Hun An and American Brian Harman (66) by one, while four-time major winner Rory McIlroy is five under courtesy of a 67.

McIlroy shares fifth with Americans Vaughn Taylor and Ryan Moore, who bagged a stunning hole-in-one at the famous par-3 17th when he slam-dunked his tee shot into the hole.

Moore's 121-yard shot was the ninth ace at the 17th in the Players' 45-year history.

Meanwhile 2004 winner Scott drained a 17-foot birdie putt on the difficult 18th.

But the 38-year-old says he won't remain in contention unless he takes advantage of the calm weather forecast for Friday morning.

"A fast start on the front nine will be really handy; I need to be under par making the turn," Scott said.

"I'm hoping for soft greens in the morning so I can make a push and watch the guys battle in the afternoon (breezes) like we did today.

"I'm going to have to get up to six (under) or better to feel like I'm not way back heading into the weekend."

Scott and 2016 Players champion Day share 34th with two-time winner at TPC Sawgrass, Tiger Woods.

Woods mixed four bogeys with an impressive six birdies, including five on the back nine, to stay within reach of the leaders.

Like Scott and Day, the 14-time major played in Thursday's afternoon wave and is determined to climb up the leaderboard on Friday morning.

"All the low rounds (today) seemed like they were predominantly in the morning; hopefully we can catch it on the calm side with some smoother greens and post a low number," Woods said.

Marc Leishman (71) was next best of the Australians at one under, while countryman Cameron Smith (72) was a shot further back at even par.

Aaron Baddeley signed for a 75 to drop to three over.


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