Jason Day’s fixation with his remodelled golf swing has propelled him into the lead with a seven-under par opening round of 70 at the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm in Maryland.
Day is one shot clear of American Joel Dahmen after he had been rattling his brain and chatting with swing coach Chris Como, who has previously worked with Tiger Woods, at all hours of the night to get his swing right in the lead up to this week.
“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that I think about the golf swing in the morning, I think about the golf swing during the day and I think about the golf swing at night. There’s been conversations at 12:00 at night with Chris just because I have an idea in my head and a certain sensation and a feel,” Day said.
“If you’ve been around me at that time, you’ve kind of — it’s interesting. I’m obsessed with it. And once again, I’m to a point where the swing is really nice with the iron, I feel like, and even to a certain point in the fairway woods, but the driver, I really need to really focus on that to make sure that I’m doing the correct movement because it can potentially hurt. Overall, it’s moving in the right direction.”
The world number 127’s injury problems have been well-documented and the focus on protecting his back has led him and Como to forge a steeper swing that produces a fade rather than the draw he has hit for most of his career.
That adjustment was firing in the opening round as Day hit 13 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens to card eight birdies.
“I drove it nice, I hit a lot of good quality iron shots into the greens and I actually putted good,” he said.
“Even though I missed some pretty easy looking putts, it was — it just didn’t quite match when I was standing over it and I was trying to match the speed of the putt going in the hole and I hit the putt, it didn’t quite match it as good as I could.”
After the round, Day said he was not getting ahead of himself after one good round, but he did say that he believes he can reach the top once again if he rediscovers one key ingredient.
“I feel like I can get back to where I need to be, but that’s a total decision up top in my head if I want to climb that mountain again. I feel good about myself and I’ve just got to slowly work on the confidence,” he said.
“The thing that’s different between now and when I was No. 1 in the world, even though the technique might not have been as crisp as it is right now, I had all the confidence in the world, especially on the greens. So that’s always the goal.”
Cam Davis is in the mix at three-under par, while Marc Leishman fought back to be two-under par after a triple bogey on 17 – he teed off from the 10th – courtesy of a shank out of the greenside bunker that went viral.
“Obviously you never want that to happen, but when it does, you’ve just got to handle it well and try and bounce back,” Leishman said.
“It feels a lot like Melbourne golf, I feel. The greens, you have to think about where you’re hitting it and where you’re hitting it off the tee. There’s places you can miss it and can’t miss it. Just felt the greens break like Melbourne, just feels like Melbourne and what I grew up on and I enjoy that. It’s close to home as well, I drove up here. It’s nice having what feels like a home game.”
Kiwi Ryan Fox has a share of the lead alongside Dane Thorbjorn Olesen at six-under par in the opening round of the DP World Tour’s Betfred British Masters.
The world number 110 fired seven brides in his round of 66, while Jason Scrivener is the best of the Australians at two-under par.