23 Apr 2022 | Professional golf |

Aussies roar into contention

by PGA of Australia

Jason Scrivener, Jason Day image
Jason Scrivener and Jason Day survey a putt on the 18th hole today. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

Forged by a text message out of the blue, the latest all-Aussie pairing of Jason Day and Jason Scrivener has created their own slice of history in Round 2 of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Seeking to supplant fellow countrymen Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman as the champions in the PGA TOUR’s two-man teams format, Team Jason roared into tournament contention with a round of seven-under 65 in the Friday foursomes.

It was equal to the 65 they produced in the opening fourball round and moved them up 22 spots on the leaderboard into a share of sixth, three shots behind leaders Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay who followed their 59 on Thursday with 68 in the second round.

Matched by South Africans Garrick Higgo and Branden Grace as the best of the day by two strokes, Day and Scrivener’s round equalled that of Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer in 2019 as the lowest foursomes score in tournament history, the pair matching up nicely from tee to green.

“We just kind of got on a roll today,” said Scrivener in just his fifth start on the PGA TOUR.

“We both were hitting fairways and greens and giving ourselves looks at it. Managed to roll a few in.

“It was just basically mistake free. I think that was the biggest part.

“We just got some momentum and rolled on with it.”

The partnership was formed when Scrivener sent a text message asking if Day needed a playing partner.

After two days it appears to be a match made in heaven.

The pair began the round with a birdie and then added two more at four and five but it was the eagle at the par-5 seventh that thrust them into contention.

Scrivener’s 298-yard tee shot down the right side of the fairway put Day in position to go for the green, hitting 3-wood from 255 yards to just 12 feet, his partner stepping in to make the putt for eagle.

Following a bogey at eight there were birdies at nine, 11, 13 and 14 to get to eight-under on their round, a new tournament record slipping through their hands with a bogey at 17.

“Today was special. I think we played some really phenomenal golf out there, especially with how the weather was,” said Day, seeking his first win in almost four years.

“It's pretty gusty out there and it's difficult, but just managed it really well today, got it around, and very pleased with how Jase is playing right now. He's very focused.

“Fourball is strange; sometimes you can play your own ball and you just don't quite have it, but sometimes in a foursome you are kind of feeding off your partner. Your partner hits it down the middle, he hits it on the green, you roll in a good putt.

“I feel like we're gelling really, really well together on the greens and we're very similar in regards to how we read the putt and how we like to see the putt go in the hole, so that helps a lot.”

The defending champion team of Smith and Leishman also made their move on Friday.

Like Day and Scrivener, the only other all-Aussie pairing this week also shot 65 on day one and backed it up with a round of four-under 68 in the foursomes to move inside the top 10 and with the leaders in their sights.

Victorian Cameron Percy had arguably the most nerve-wracking moment of the second round after his tee shot at the par-3 17th trickled into the water left of the green.

Percy could only look on as playing partner Brandon Hagy had one foot in the water playing their second shot, all the while with a resident alligator lurking in the shallows.

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