Jason Day – file photo

Jason Day has put behind him the disappointment of last week missing his first US Open since 2011 by producing a second round of 62 at the Travelers Championship near Hartford in Connecticut and he leads by one over course specialist, Bubba Watson, and Kramer Hickock.

Day was forced out of the Memorial Tournament a few weeks ago with a bad back and was unable to attend final qualifying for the US Open after slipping out of the automatic qualifying criteria for the event itself.

“Yeah, body is okay, just stiff,” said Day. “It’s sore to get onto the other side of the golf swing, so any time going left was a little bit sore. It is what it is. I haven’t had time to really rest it since I kind of put it out. I think having a couple weeks off was great, but you just need a little bit more time is what it is.

“Well, I mean, sometimes when you do have sort of an injury or stiffness, even if you’re sick, sometimes you can come out and play some good golf. I was fortunate enough to not really get in my own way today.”

Day also made comment about reverting back to his previous putter which yielded results.

“Well, I tried the SIK putter and just going back to something that felt I guess a little bit more square to me. I was looking down at the putter and just wasn’t lining up correctly. To me felt a little bit closed.

“So that kind of crossed — I crossed myself up and wasn’t trusting my line. So going back to the Spider, which sits a little bit more open for me, I can trust the line that I’m aiming at.”

Day’s last seven starts have resulted in not one top 30 finish so this represents a significant turnaround for the 12 time PGA Tour event winner but in order for him to win on Sunday he will need to get past the man who has won here on three occasions and been runner-up once, Bubba Watson, amongst others.

Watson spoke of his relationship with the course and how he feels about being back here.

“When you come off the U.S. Open everything seems easier. Even though there is thick rough you feel like you can play out of it. You can still move the ball forward.

“Obviously with the new design there is couple bunkers that are tricky, said the left-hander. “As long as you stay out of the bunkers you can still move the ball forward and you feel like you have a chance to hit the green.

“That’s really what I’ve felt over the years, is that I can play no matter where the ball ends up.

“You know, again, first time I ever played here it was a different sponsor and I shot I think a 74, 74 without looking it up, and I was like, man, I’m never coming back here.

“Then Travelers started coming around to everybody and saying, Hey, we’re going change the range. The old range here where you couldn’t hit driver, not supposed to hit driver. So they said they were going to change that and start doing better for the players and caddies, trainers, physios. So there was a lot of things they were going to amp up and then golf was the last thing they were worried about.

“So brought a different atmosphere. The crowd got behind it, the community. And then as you know, finding my way through life you do different things in your life that are so impactful, meaningful, and going in the — to the different places around here, Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, seeing that, feeling that, the energy of these kids, listening to their songs that they sang for me and my wife at lunch, was amazing.”

Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman are the next best of the Australians after Day, the Olympic pairing tied in 20th place at 5 under and four behind the leader.

Cameron Percy and Matt Jones are another shot back in 35th place, Lucas Herbert 48th and Adam Scott just making the cut in 58th place and seven from the lead.