Jason Day, Jordan Spieth both under par in Round 1 of Australian Open

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Jason Day, Jordan Spieth both under par in Round 1 of Australian Open

PGA Tour

Jason Day, Jordan Spieth both under par in Round 1 of Australian Open

Jordan Spieth returned Thursday after nearly two months off, beginning his season down under in Round 1 of the Australian Open.

Jason Day, meanwhile, continued his 2017-18 campaign with another promising showing at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

Day shot 5-under 66 in Round 1 and sits T-3, three shots behind outright leader and fellow Aussie Cameron Davis. Spieth shot 1-under 70 and is T-29 in his first action since the Presidents Cup.

Spieth got off to a rough start with back-to-back bogeys, getting back to even par after consecutive birdies at the Par-3 4th hole and Par-5 5th hole. His up-and-down afternoon included six birdies and five bogeys, with a birdie at the par-5 18th to finish the round under par.

Spieth is looking to defend his title after finishing 12-under here last year, beating Ashley Hall and Cameron Smith in a playoff. He also finished T-2 and one shot behind winner Matt Jones in 2015.

Day continued to trend in the right direction, building on momentum from the home stretch of an otherwise disappointing 2016-17 season. He had eight birdies and still managed a 66 with a double bogey at the par-4 8th hole.

This is the third event of the season for Day, who notched T-11 finishes at both the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges and the WGC-HSBC Champions in October. All told he’s registered eight consecutive top 25s, dating back to a T-24 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August. That stretch includes three top-10s, most notably a solo fourth at the BMW Championship.

It’s all very promising for a player who looked lost just two months prior, missing the cut at the U.S. Open following an opening-round 79. After a tough fall from the World No. 1-ranking, perhaps he’s getting closer to the top than many realize.

Davis had the round of the day with an 8-under 63, tallying six birdies on the front nine and nine overall with just one bogey. He holds a two-shot lead over Taylor Macdonald, who is alone in second after a 6-under 65.

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