ORLANDO — Jason Day felt he was playing better. He finally had a score to show for it Thursday at Bay Hill.
Day one-putted his last seven holes, including a 10-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th to take the lead and two tough par saves at the end for 6-under 66 and a one-shot lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Among those one shot behind was Adam Scott, which was no surprise. Scott is the hottest player in golf, coming off two straight victories at the Honda Classic and the Cadillac Championship at Doral, and he played bogey-free in benign weather and on a course where no blade of grass seems to be out of place.
Day hasn't played enough to have serious problems with his game, though he missed the cut at Torrey Pines and finished a combined 35 shots out of the lead in the other three tournaments he entered this year. In the five tournaments since his last victory in September, he hasn't finished within seven shots of the lead.
"There was no sense of urgency at all for me, really," Day said. "I just kept on saying, 'Just make sure you stay patient and things will happen, it will happen.' I just got to make sure I get the reps under my belt and hope it will work. This is one good round, one good round in the right direction. … So that helps."
Rory McIlroy made two double bogeys and opened with 75, leaving him in danger of missing his second straight cut against a full field.
He hit his opening tee shot out-of-bounds and made his other double bogey with a shot into the water on No. 8. McIlroy hit two other shots into the water and escaped with par, and he made par putts of 10, 15 and 25 feet.
"It probably could have been a few worse," McIlroy said. "I end up shooting this. I'll get some good work done on the range (Thursday night) and come out (today) and play a good round of golf to get myself into the red numbers, at least be here for the weekend (and) I can make a charge."
Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman, Brendan Steele and Troy Merritt were at 67.
LPGA: Mi Hyang Lee shot a tournament-record 10-under 62 in the JTBC Founders Cup in Phoenix after playing her first nine holes in 9 under at Desert Ridge. Lee, 22, threatened to shoot the second 59 in LPGA history after opening with eagle and seven birdies. Sei Young Kim and Brittany Lang were tied for second at 63.