Day pleased with momentum after grabbing US PGA lead

By Sports Desk August 06, 2020

Jason Day feels he is building momentum after grabbing the lead at the US PGA Championship on Thursday.

The Australian carded a five-under 65 at TPC Harding Park to hold a one-stroke lead on what was a congested leaderboard during the first round.

Despite being winless since 2018, Day has four top-10 finishes this year, including three in a row leading into the first major of 2020.

Day, the 2015 US PGA champion, said he felt his form building heading to San Francisco.

"There was definitely a lot of momentum coming in off the previous finishes that I've had, three top-10s, which has been nice," he said.

"The game feels like it's coming around. I'm pleased with it.

"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."

The colder weather in San Francisco was talked about heading into the major and Day has dealt with back injuries in the past.

The 32-year-old admitted he was more cautious in the cooler weather to protect his back.

"It's still pretty cool. It was nice to be able to have the sun for a change. It's been kind of overcast and grey here," Day said.

"But it has been cool – you've got to be careful. It is a lot colder; 50 degrees pretty much to be precise from last week. It was nice to play in the hot weather last week and then this week you're always cautious of doing certain things, bending over.

"But I pretty much lather up in Deep Heat and I try and burn the skin off my back, to be honest. And I feel pretty good, so I've been fine."

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  • Wolff charges into lead at U.S. Open after 65 Wolff charges into lead at U.S. Open after 65

    Matthew Wolff equalled a U.S. Open record and is on track to make further history after taking a two-stroke lead in the third round.

    Wolff carded a five-under 65 on Saturday, equalling the lowest round produced at Winged Foot at a U.S. Open.

    The 21-year-old American blitzed the front nine in New York, making five birdies before a consistent back nine included a bogey and birdie.

    Wolff's round came after hitting just two of 14 fairways, but he reached five under and a two-shot lead.

    His 65 matched the round Justin Thomas managed on Thursday to set the record at Winged Foot.

    If he wins, Wolff would become the first player to claim the U.S. Open on tournament debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913.

    Bryson DeChambeau (70) sits second at three under and Louis Oosthuizen (68) is the only other player under par at one under.

    DeChambeau opened his round with back-to-back bogeys before picking up a shot at the seventh.

    The American then made birdies at 16 and 17, but could only manage a bogey at the par-four 18th.

    Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Championship winner, is also in contention after mixing four birdies with two bogeys.

    Hideki Matsuyama (70), Xander Schauffele (70) and Harris English (72) are at even par, a shot ahead of Rory McIlroy (68).

    But it was a forgettable third round, and in particular back nine, for overnight leader Patrick Reed.

    The 2018 Masters champion was one under through nine holes before falling apart to shoot a 77 and sit at three over, tied for 11th.

    Reed bogeyed six of his final nine holes and had a double bogey at the 11th, where he struggled to recover from the rough.

    Thomas is at four over, while world number one Dustin Johnson was again unable to get much going, shooting a 72 to be at five over.

  • McIlroy senses U.S. Open chance after Winged Foot revival McIlroy senses U.S. Open chance after Winged Foot revival

    Rory McIlroy believes he can challenge for the U.S. Open title on Sunday, saying a third-round 68 has given him "a pretty good shot".

    The Northern Irishman began on Thursday with a three-under 67 but turned his numbers around in the second round when a 76 looked to have scuppered his hopes.

    On Saturday, moving day at Winged Foot, McIlroy had three birdies and just one dropped shot in the kind of solid performance he would sign for again in the final round.

    Four-time major winner McIlroy, who was 22 years old when he won the 2011 U.S. Open, was back on the leaderboard.

    On a course where American Matthew Wolff, just 21, was setting the pace, McIlroy was sensing the rekindling of a real opportunity this week.

    "Overall 68 out there is a really good score," he said. "I don't know where that's going to leave me at the end of the day, but I'm feeling pretty good that I've got a good chance going into [Sunday]."

    At one over par, McIlroy was watching the scoreboard to see where Wolff would finish the day.

    A startling 30 on the front nine took Wolff to five under par for the tournament at one stage.

    "No matter where I am at the end of the day, I feel like I've got a pretty good shot," McIlroy said.

    "You know, it doesn't take much around here ... someone gets off to a decent start, maybe one or two under through five and then the leader goes the other way, one or two over through five, and all of a sudden you're right in the thick of things."

    Asked what conditions he would want on Sunday, McIlroy said: "It's sort of a double-edged sword, right, because you would think that you'd want tougher conditions because it'll make it more difficult for the guys in front of you, but it also makes it more difficult for yourself.

    "I think looking at the forecast, the conditions are going to be pretty similar to today, which is fine. If I go out there tomorrow and shoot another 68, I won't be too far away."

    He was full of admiration for Wolff's front nine, describing his scoring as "awesome golf".

  • U.S. Open leader Reed confident in pursuit of second major U.S. Open leader Reed confident in pursuit of second major

    Patrick Reed said he is feeling confident after claiming the U.S. Open lead as the former Masters champion eyes a second major crown.

    Reed tops the leaderboard by one stroke at the halfway stage following his even-par-70 in the second round at the unforgiving Winged Foot Golf Club on Friday.

    Winner of the 2018 Masters, Reed was a shot off the pace after round one but used five birdies to replace Justin Thomas atop the standings in tricky conditions in New York.

    After improving to four under through 36 holes, American golfer Reed told reporters: "I feel good. I feel ready to go out and put myself in position hopefully tomorrow [Saturday] to have a chance late on Sunday.

    "But I think that's the biggest thing is I feel like the game is where it needs to be. I feel good.

    "I just need to tighten a few things up here or there, but the short game is sharp, and when I play around a place like this, that's what you need."

    Winged Foot proved troublesome again on another tough scoring day as 15-time major winner Tiger Woods, defending champion Gary Woodland, former world number one Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson were among the masses to miss the cut.

    But Reed managed to tame the course following his opening-round 66, a mixed day featuring five birdies and as many bogeys as he ended the round ahead of surging countryman Bryson DeChambeau.

    "Any time you play in the U.S. Open you know that you're going to have one of those days that things just aren't quite going your way," Reed said. "I felt like I left a decent amount of shots out there, felt like I was a little loose with some shots off the tee and also irons.

    "To be able to feel like that and come out and shoot even par around a day like today, it's definitely a positive and makes you feel good going into the weekend."

    Reed will play alongside rival DeChambeau on Saturday as the pair chase silverware and he added: "It's going to be good.

    "I look forward to playing with him. I always enjoy playing with Bryson. It's kind of one of those things that we go out there, and I think around here it's not really as much on who you're playing with because you're out there attacking the golf course. This golf course you have to think about every little thing off of tee shots, iron shots, putts, everything.

    "You don't really hang out with the guys you're playing with as much because you're too busy trying to figure out where you're trying to play this golf course and kind of put it together like a puzzle.

    "I think that's the thing about the U.S. Open, there's not as much talking going on at the U.S. Open as there is other golf tournaments because it's a premium on every single golf shot. You let up once and you're going to make a mess of the golf course."

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