Day makes solid PGA start

Jason Day
Jason Day on his way to a 70 at the PGA today. Image: Getty

 

Jason Day continued his steady progress back towards his best form at the PGA Championship of the United States today with a one-under par 70 that has him tied-15th.

Day is three shots from the lead jointly held by European star Thorbjorn Oleson and American Kevin Kisner at 67 at Quail Hollow. US Open champion Brooks Koepka is among the group a shot back at 68.

The Australian had to scramble hard all day, going through the back nine one-over par and then reaching three-over when poor drives led to bogeys on the second and third holes. But a withering finish saved his day, highlighted by an eagle on the par-five seventh hole from three metres. Day picked up four shots in four holes, knocking in birdie putts at the fifth and eighth.

Day won the PGA in 2015 but has been in a lull, with no wins since May, 2016. But he was relatively happy with his start, telling reporters at the course: "The greens are very quick and firm and if you're not in the right position it's very hard just to make par. Especially if you find the greenside rough because the ball sits down. Finishing with two birdies and an eagle is a really good turnaround."

Quail Hollow played tough on the first day and even Jordan Spieth, the world’s best putter, struggled on the Bermuda greens, having 32 shots with the short stick in his opening 72.

Spieth is making a first pitch at the career Grand Slam, having won the Open Championship in Scotland last month to add to his Masters and US Open titles from 2015.

There has been huge attention to his quest to join the four players to have won all four majors over their careers, but his performance was a little flat, just as Rory McIlroy’s opening 72 was somewhat anti-climactic.

Of the other Australians, Adam Scott began with a quiet even-par 71, Scott Hend is in the mix with a 72, but Marc Leishman  and Cameron Smith (75), Rod Pampling (77) and Stuart Deane (84) have work to do.

Scott’s tugged tee shot to the water on the par-four 14th hole cost him dearly.