Day keeps cool at PGA, near top of major leaderboard again
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — A couple bad wedge shots certainly weren’t going to bother Jason Day at the PGA Championship. He’s been through worse.
The Australian put himself in contention at a major once again Thursday, shooting a 4-under 68 to finish two shots behind first-round leader Dustin Johnson.
“Can’t really panic too much. Plenty of golf left,” Day said.
Along with Rickie Fowler and Johnson, who happened to be in his threesome Thursday, Day is on that short list of players who could be considered “best to not win a major.”
Day finished fourth this year at the British Open, leaving a birdie putt short on the 72nd hole at St. Andrews that would have put him in a playoff.
He finished ninth at the U.S. Open, though that was a mammoth effort, considering he collapsed in the second round because of vertigo and almost walked off the course three times the next day.
He was two PGA Tour victories this season, winning at Torrey Pines in San Diego in February and the Canadian Open last month at Glen Abbey — a week after the British Open.
On Thursday, he started on the back nine and started his way up the leaderboard with birdies on Nos. 14 and 16.
Day had an eagle and birdie to briefly get to 5 under on his second nine, before giving a shot back with a bogey on No. 6. There, he was 98 yards from the pin, in the fairway, but overcooked the shot into the rough behind the green.
Earlier, he missed the green from close range on the par-5 11th and settled for par on a hole where many players made birdies.
“Yeah, I missed two greens with a wedge today in my hand,” Day said. “It’s just — I don’t know what it is.”
But it’s way too early to get frustrated, and Day knows that.
He is a regular at the top of these leaderboards, with a total of nine top-10 major finishes. His first came on this course five years ago.
In the lead-up to the opening round, Day said he wouldn’t trade all the close calls for one win and a bunch of also-ran finishes. He’s confident that if he keeps giving himself chances, he’ll break through soon.
Doesn’t hurt to be spending the first two days — at least — keeping an eye on Johnson, who has also been coming close a lot lately.
“There’s plenty of golf to be played,” Day said. “Everyone’s trying to win, and I’m trying to win my first. He’s trying to win his first, so we’ll see how it goes.”
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