Day's back feels fine in win over Jaidee
The Aussie remains undefeated after two days at Austin Country Club
March 24, 2016
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Jason Day was never down in his match against Thongchai Jaidee. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, Texas -- A few observations from the second day of competition at the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play Championship. This was the second of three days of pool play; after Friday’s third round, the player with the best record in each pool will advance to the 16-man, single-elimination bracket (ties will be broken by sudden-death playoff). For more on Thursday's action, click here to read the Daily Wrap-up.
1. Jason Day wasn’t sure he would be able to play Thursday at the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play until he started warming up for his match with Thongchai Jaidee.
A disk in Day’s back began bothering him late in his first-round win over Graeme McDowell on Wednesday. Day dropped his club and grabbed his back after hitting his tee shot on the 16th hole. Fortunately, that was the last hole of the match, as Day won, 3 and 2. He received treatment after Wednesday's round.
“When (the disk) gets inflamed, the facet joints lock up and then everything kind of goes into spasm and I can’t really move,” Day said.
Day, who won last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, took hard swings while warming up Thursday to test his back. It didn’t bother him on the range, and he erased any doubts by driving the first green and winning the hole with eagle. Day stretched throughout his round to keep his back loose. He went on to defeat Jaidee easily, winning 5 and 3. He said his back didn't bother him on a single shot Thursday.
“I was so disappointed and so angry (Wednesday) night that I was injured because I have been doing the right things,” Day said. “These things just pop out of the blue and you can’t do anything about it. It’s so frustrating because I am playing really good golf right now. I know that if I can keep playing this way, I can win.
“I’m just trying to stay focused on the positive side of things, that I have recovered pretty well from it.”
Day, the 2014 Match Play champion, faces Paul Casey on Friday. Day can advance to the Round of 16 even if he loses, and is guaranteed to advance if he wins.
Jason Day's tee shot on No. 11 sets up birdie at Dell Match Play
2. Rory McIlroy was piecing together a jigsaw puzzle a couple nights ago when highlights of last year’s WGC-Dell Match Play came on the television. McIlroy won that event, and his winning ways have continued this year.
His 3-and-1 win over Smylie Kaufman was McIlroy’s ninth consecutive victory in this event. The win set up a do-or-die match against Kevin Na on Friday (if they halve the match, they’ll face each other in a sudden-death playoff).
McIlroy, the defending champion, has good memories against Na. They faced off in the first round of the 2010 Match Play, and McIlroy recalls falling 4 down after six holes before winning, 1 up.
“I don't know if he remembers it too well, but at least I can draw on that memory going into tomorrow and see if I can beat him again,” McIlroy said.
3. Zach Johnson’s 8-and-6 win over Martin Kaymer was the largest of the week. Johnson has arguably been the most impressive player over the first two days at Austin Country Club.
“I got up early and never let go,” Johnson said. “For the most part, I’m hitting a lot of greens. It’s not easy to hit greens out here with this wind.”
His big win came one day after Johnson authored an impressive performance against Marcus Fraser, a 4-and-3 win during which Johnson made four birdies and an eagle.
He has played just 27 holes in his two matches and made just one bogey, a three-putt from 35 feet on the ninth hole today. Austin Country Club emphasizes placement over power, which helps Johnson, and the strong winds over the first two days have demanded players control their trajectory.
“I don’t mind putting it in the back of my stance, hitting it low and essentially taking the wind out of it,” Johnson said. “I would say that my trajectory control is typically one of my assets.”
Four of his 12 PGA TOUR victories have come in Texas, and he usually excels this time of year. Half of his wins have come in April and May.
Johnson will face Shane Lowry (0-1-1) on Friday. Johnson can guarantee that he will advance to the Round of 16 if he beats Lowry. If Kaymer loses Friday, Johnson will still win the group even if he loses Friday.
4. His path to the 18th has been different in each match, but the ending has been the same. Patton Kizzire birdied the 18th in each of his first two matches to win the hole and halve the match. Kizzire has halved Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes in the first two rounds of his WGC debut.
Kizzire’s final-hole heroics mean he still has a chance to advance out of pool play. Kizzire, the 2015 Web.com Tour Player of the Year, will face 2015 Web.com Tour Championship winner Emiliano Grillo on Friday. Each player still has a chance of advancing.
Kizzire, the second-to-last player to qualify for Match Play, was 4 down after 12 holes Friday before winning four of the final six holes.
PUERTO RICO OPEN AT COCO BEACH: Rafael Campos shot an 8-under 64 in front of his home fans Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach.
The 27-year-old Campos had eight birdies in a bogey-free round at windy Coco Beach. He made four straight birdies on Nos. 9-12, added another on the par-5 15th and parred the final three holes.
"I hit the ball very well. I kept the ball in play, which was the main goal today," Campos said. "The truth is, I felt very comfortable. I had a great crowd -- family, friends and all that -- which helped me ease my way into the round. It was kind of easy, believe it or not. I know it was windy. I played really safe on the holes I had to play safe." Click here to read more.
QUOTE OF THE DAYI'm used to rooting against the Seminoles, so it's not going to be unfamiliar territory.
CALL OF THE DAYRafa Cabrera-Bello’s 72-footer to close out his match Thursday at WGC-Dell Match Play.
Free play-by-play coverage of Day 3 streams from 2-8 p.m. ET Friday on PGATOUR.COM.
Rafa Cabrera Bello's 72-foot putt better than most at Dell Match Play
Had a chance but @bubbawatson closed with 3 birdies in the last 4 holes. Doesn't get any better than that.— Emiliano Grillo (@GrilloEmiliano) March 24, 2016
Thanks for all the messages, icing the wrist and should be good to go tomorrow. Fought hard today but wasn't enough! pic.twitter.com/qUK7R2iT5d— Daniel Berger (@DanielBerger59) March 24, 2016