Day's 59 bid comes up short, leads by four
September 18, 2015
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- September 18, 2015
- Jason Day shot a career low 61 during Round 1 of the BMW Championship. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – One 45-yard pitch shot was the center of attention Friday morning at Conway Farms.
That shot represented Jason Day’s opportunity for 59. His ball lay in the rough right of the ninth fairway, the shot made more difficult by the overnight rains that soaked Conway Farms. He left his attempt about 10 feet short and his birdie putt lipped out.
No 59, but Day’s 10-under 61 gave him a four-shot lead after the BMW Championship’s first round. While he missed his chance at history, Day is pleased with his position on the leaderboard. He has a four-shot lead after the first round.
“It sounds like everyone is disappointed,” Day said. “Fifty-nine would have been great, but right now I'm just trying to focus on winning the tournament. I think that's more important than shooting the 59.”
Day, the FedExCup’s leader, is seeking his second win of the FedExCup Playoffs and fifth win of the season. He also has the opportunity to become No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time.
Day’s unmatched play from the tee makes the game look easy when he’s playing well. He made nine birdies and an eagle in the first round while averaging 334.6 yards from the tee and hitting nine of 14 fairways. His lone bogey was a three-putt at the par-3 17th, his eighth hole of the day.
“It feels like a practice round, like it doesn't really matter. And no matter what you do, even if you hit a bad shot, it's going to be all right. That's kind of the way it feels,” Day said Thursday evening.
Jordan Spieth, who played alongside Day, made birdie at No. 9 to complete his 65, which included a hole-in-one on Thursday.
The BMW Championship’s first round was suspended Thursday after Day hit his tee shot at No. 9, his final hole of the round. He had to wait until the following morning to take his shot at history. The round resumed at 7:30 a.m. local time.
Day obviously was the center of attention. As players walked to their balls, they jokingly asked the media and cameramen why they were gathered around the ninth hole.
“Today when I walked out there and everyone is watching, I was like, whoa, this is kind of important,” Day said. “Selfishly, I wanted to get it as close as possible.”
He said he didn’t think about breaking 60 as he slept Thursday night. He didn’t even know he had a chance at 59 while he was playing Thursday. He thought Conway Farms was a par-72, and didn’t know the proper par until Spieth informed him as they walked down the ninth fairway after play was called.
“To be honest, I wasn't really thinking about it because I never thought I'd have the opportunity to do it,” Day said. “But then on top of it, my goal has always been getting to No. 1 and winning major championships.”
Day spent 10 minutes before the round trying to simulate his upcoming shot. It rained hard enough overnight for a flash flood warning to be put in place. The wet rough made Day’s shot more difficult.
As Day waited for play to start, he walked to the ninth green to study its contours. He took practice swings and waited by his ball as the group’s third member, Rickie Fowler, hit his tee shot. Spieth hit his approach shot first, his ball spinning back to within inches of the hole. He marked his ball to clear the way for Day.
“It was a bit weak,” Spieth joked about Day’s shot. “I mean, for a 59, being able to place it in the rough and softer greens. You would have liked to see a better chance. But I've come to expect not great things from him lately, so didn't really surprise me.”
Day, Spieth and Fowler tee off in the BMW Championship’s second round at 10:39 a.m. local time (11:39 a.m. ET).
Jason Day cards career-low round 61 at BMW Championship