Day makes dream start at John Deere
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2006 John Deere Classic | Round Two | 15 Jul 2006
There are no doubt dangers in getting carried away with the performance of Jason Day at this week’s John Deere Classic in Illinois but it is hard not to be impressed with the manner in which the 18 year old has conducted himself over the opening two rounds.
Making the cut in his first professional event was always going to be his initial goal and that he was able to do so after his shaky start in round one, further highlights the tremendous talent the youngster is.
After making the turn in three over in yesterday’s first round, many players in Day’s situation may well have succumbed to the immense pressures that a first start as a professional bring. He immediately bounced back with two consecutive birdies to open his back nine in round one and that he fought his way back to even par was an achievement in itself.
He could have been forgiven if he had not been able to recover from his unnerving start which had included a double bogey and bogey at consecutive holes early in his round. The conditioning that has gone into making Day the success in amateur golf kicked in and at even par as he started round two, he knew he had a chance of being around for the weekend.
An early tee time on day two would assist his cause. It appeared from day one scores that two under, possibly three under, would be the mark. He started well with a two putt par at the first and then a two putt birdie at the par five second to move to one under. He missed an 11 foot putt for birdie at the 4th hole then continued to hit greens before another very good missed opportunity at the 8th from 8 feet.
He continued to find greens without any great opportunities before he rolled in a near 30 foot putt at the 11th to move to two under for the day and the tournament and the cut was now looking a distinct possibility.
At the very next hole, the par three, 12th, Day hit a poor tee shot to miss his only green of the day and when he was unable to recover he had dropped back to one under. At the 13th he holed a 20 footer from the front edge to immediately move back to two under.
Further regulation pars followed, but at the par five, 17th, he had a great chance to create a cushion for himself. He found the front bunker with his approach from 260 yards and when he left himself 10 feet from the hole, here was a real chance to give himself some breathing space, especially with the dangerous last to come. He missed and headed to the 18th tee at two under.
The ’bush telegraph’ no doubt had Day fully aware of his task. He would need to par the 18th at worst to make a dream start to his professional career. A drive along the right half of the fairway found the rough. With 180 yards to go and with water left, there was still plenty of danger but Day found the green and two putted for par from 40 feet to be at two under and hovering on the cut mark.
For the next few hours it would be a case of waiting to see whether the score would stand up. Even with an hour’s play left it could have gone either way but when all was settled Day finds himself in 68th place and playing the weekend.
Many would be pleased with doing just that but knowing Jason Day he will more than likely be thinking of a low round tomorrow and contending by Sunday.