Masters champ Willett breaks par for first time at Players


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Danny Willett got off to a solid start in his first competitive round as a Masters champ.

Willett opened The Players Championship with a 2-under 70, marking the first time the Englishman has broken par in three tries at the Stadium Course. After one round he sits among a tie for 41st, seven shots behind leader Jason Day.

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Willett said he had played only one round of golf in the weeks that followed his surprising triumph at Augusta National, but he showed little rust during the opening round. Starting on the back nine, Willett made his lone bogey of the day on No. 14 but then followed with a trio of birdies on Nos. 16, 17 and No. 1.

Willett found 13 of 18 greens in regulation but salvaged each scrambling opportunity, as his lone bogey resulted from a three-putt from 41 feet on No. 14.

Willett will begin the second round at 1:25 p.m. ET alongside Justin Rose (65) and Brandt Snedeker (71).