Jason Day in action today – photo courtesy of PGA of America
Australian Jason Day has opened with a round of 5 under par 65 at the PGA Championship at the TPC Harding near San Francisco and shares the lead with American Brendon Todd at the end of day one.
That pair is one shot ahead of a group of nine players at 4 under 66 but despite 47 players breaking par on the lakeside layout west of San Francisco, the golf course proved to be demanding with no player able to go really low.
Day played early (7.33 tee time) and was bogey free, recording one of his best opening rounds in championship golf following on from several good finishes in recent weeks on the PGA Tour.
“Today I drove it really nicely, and when I was out of position,” said the 32 year old. “I left myself on the right side of the fairways to be able to at least get somewhere around the greens, and if I did miss the greens I left it in the right spot.
“Yeah, pretty sound the whole way around. I hit a lot of good-quality iron shots coming into the greens. Wasn’t overly aggressive. And there was a couple of shots on 9 and 17 where I hit it pretty tight, but overall it was very solid.
“There was definitely a lot of momentum coming in off the previous finishes that I’ve had, three top 10s, which has been nice. The game feels like it’s coming around. I’m pleased with it.
“I’m not like excited — I shouldn’t say I’m not excited. I am excited to come out and play every day, but I know that I can improve, and mainly my putting can improve a little bit more.
“I feel like I’ve been working very hard in the off-weeks and especially when I come to a tournament to be able to get my putting back to where it is because it’s always been a strength of mine, and I feel like the game is slowly coming around, the confidence is coming around because I’m starting to see the results, which has been good.”
Adam Scott has not played a PGA Tour event since February but he did very well to record a round of 68 to be three from the lead, more especially given he was required to overcome a slow start to a round in which he bogeyed three holes on the way to the turn.
“I just hit it in the rough a lot on the front nine, said Scott who played in the afternoon field today.
“Took me four or five holes to kind of figure out my comfort lines on the tee. You know, I’ll give myself a break on having not played any competitive golf for a while, that it took me awhile to find my rhythm out there, but I worked hard and it didn’t slip away from me, which I was really happy with.
“I ground it out on the back nine, because the wind got strong as we got around to around 13, which that was challenging with it coming in hard off the left shoulder. So I’m very happy with that score today.”
Of the other Australians, Matt Jones and Marc Leishman recorded rounds of even par 70, Cameron Smith a 71 and Lucas Herbert a 3 over par 73 in his first appearance at the PGA Championship.