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Day's big finish brings Bay Hill lead

ORLANDO, Fla. — 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 a 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."

Day doesn't have a great history in his limited time at Bay Hill. Going into Thursday, he had broken 70 only three times in 14 rounds, nothing lower than 68. He only had one bad swing, a tee shot that soared right and out of bounds on the ninth hole for a double bogey. But he played the last seven holes in 5 under, including the 6-iron he hit to within 10 feet on 16.

Rory McIlroy made a pair of double bogeys and opened with a 75, leaving him in danger of missing his second straight cut against a full field.

LPGA: At Phoenix, Mi Hyang Lee shot a tournament-record 10-under 62 on Thursday in the JTBC Founders Cup after playing her first nine holes in 9 under.

On a day when fellow South Korean player Se Ri Pak announced she will retire at the end of the season, Lee threatened to shoot the second 59 in LPGA Tour history after opening with an eagle and seven birdies on the back nine.

Needing to play the front nine in 4 under to break 60, Lee made only one more birdie — on the par-5 fifth.

WEB.COM: At Broussard, La., Ashland's Jason Allred shot a 4-under 67 and is tied for 21st place after the first round of the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.

Allred had an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole and was at a bogey-free 6 under through 13, but bogeys at Nos. 14 and 18 dropped him back.

Ryan Armour and J.J. Spaun shot 8-under 63s and sit one clear of South African Dawie van der Walt and Ireland’s Seamus Power at Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club.