04 May 2023 | Professional golf |
Aussies on Tour: Day ready to end drought where it began
by Tony Webeck
He was ranked No.7 in the world, was a recent major champion and had won on tour already that year. Not even Jason Day could imagine that winning the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship would mark the start of a five-year winless drought.
Day returns to one of his favourite stops on the PGA TOUR this week buoyed by a run of good form that has taken him from 112 to No.34 in the Official World Golf Ranking yet rocked by a recent bout of vertigo. A mild case flared up during his match with world No.1 Scottie Scheffler at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas and then was made worse by the stress of the final day at The Masters. Three weeks on he is confident that he has that under control as the 35-year-old seeks to cap his resurgence with a long-awaited win at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. A 12-time winner on tour and a former world No.1 himself, Day conceded that the thought of not winning for the next five years when he triumphed at Quail Hollow in 2018 would have been alarming. “Probably questioned what I was doing. You know, what happened in those five years to cause me not to win,” Day reflected. “It would be interesting because I was coming off the back end of 2015 and ‘16 and then two more events in 2018. “I need to get back into the winner’s circle, I know that. I feel that my game is starting to round into some really good form where I know that I can win more consistently, it’s just a matter of putting myself into contention a little bit more. “To be honest, I’ve got past the point of thinking about winning and more of the point of just trying to go through the correct process every single day. At some point it’s going to yield more confidence and better play. “When that happens, it’s going to happen a lot, which would be nice.” In six career starts at Quail Hollow, Day has finished top-25 on five occasions, including a tie for ninth at the 2017 US PGA Championship. It’s why, with six top-10s and 11 top-25s in 14 starts this season to sit 30th on the FedEx Cup, that Day believes he is in the perfect place to end the drought. “I thoroughly enjoy the way that the course layout is. Not only on top of that, but the way that the grass is and the sand and everything as well, it’s just I feel like it sets up well for my game,” said Day, one of four Aussies in the field this week and drawn with Rory McIlroy and reigning US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick the first two days. “It’s not an overly long golf course, but I think the playing surface is what I like the most. It’s very similar to what I have at home in Ohio. “I typically tend to like these bigger, larger, more pitch on the greens where you actually have to have a lot of imagination, you have to kind of position yourself around the golf course and if you have a good short game and you can match that up with some good hitting for the week, then typically that gives you better results than when you’re just trying to survive sometimes. “Obviously this is a major-style golf course because we had the PGA here not too long ago and with the amount of people that come here as well, it just feels bigger overall. “That’s typically why I like playing here.” Team Australia – Minjee Lee, Hannah Green, Steph Kyriacou and Sarah Kemp – are hoping to defy their No.7 seed and take out the returning International Crown at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. Drawn to play the powerhouse South Korea team in Round 1, Lee and Kyriacou will take on Hye-Jin Choi and In Gee Chun with Green and Kemp to face off against Hyo Joo Kim and Jin Young Ko. There are seven Aussies in the field for the Asian Tour’s GS Caltex Maekyung Open in Korea and Queenslander Aaron Pike is making his first start on the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica at the Kia Open in Ecuador. Round 1 tee times AEST PGA TOUR Wells Fargo Championship Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina 9.34pm* Jason Day, Matt Fitzpatrick, Rory McIlroy 9.56pm Cam Davis, Jim Herman, Francesco Molinari 10.51pm* Harrison Endycott, Aaron Rai, Austin Eckroat 3.16am Adam Scott, Sam Burns, Shane Lowry Defending champion: Max Homa Past Aussie winners: Jason Day (2018) TV times: Live 9.30pm-8am Thursday, Friday on Fox Sports 503; Live 9.45pm-4am Saturday on Fox Sports 505; Live 3am-8am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503. LPGA Tour Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, California Day 1 5.15am Minjee Lee/Steph Kyriacou vs Hye-Jin Choi/In Gee Chun (KOR) 5.30am Hannah Green/Sarah Kemp vs Hyo Joo Kim/Jin Young Ko (KOR) Defending champion: South Korea (2018) Past Aussie winners: Nil TV times: Live 8am-11am Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503. DP World Tour DS Automobiles Italian Open Marco Simone GC, Rome, Italy 3.50pm Jason Scrivener, Jeff Winther, Fabrizio Zanotti 5.10pm* Daniel Hiller (NZ), Alexander Levy, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez Defending champion: Robert MacIntyre Past Aussie winners: Greg Norman (1988), Craig Parry (1991) TV times: Live 9pm-2am Thursday, Friday on Fox Sports 507; Live 10.17pm-2am Saturday; Live 9.30pm-2am Sunday on Fox Sports 503. Asian Tour The 42nd GS Caltex Maekyung Open Namseoul Country Club, Korea 8.03am Wonjoon Lee, Sungmin Cho, Dongeun Kim 8.58am Terry Pilkadaris, Heungchol Joo, Heemin Chang 9.31am* Todd Sinnott, Innchoon Hwang, Jeonghyeob Hyun 12.30pm Scott Hend, Junseok Lee, Taehoon Kim 1.25pm Kevin Yuan, Richard T. Lee, Taehoon Ok 1.36pm Zach Murray, Hongtaek Kim, Minjun Kim Defending champion: Bio Kim Past Aussie winners: Mike Clayton (1984) TV times: Live 2pm-6pm Thursday, Friday on Fox Sports 503; Live 1pm-5pm Saturday on Fox Sports 506; Live 1pm-3pm Sunday on Fox Sports 503; Live 3pm-5pm Sunday on Fox Sports 506. PGA TOUR Champions Mitsubishi Electric Classic TPC Sugarloaf, Duluth, Georgia Aussies in the field: Stuart Appleby, Richard Green, David McKenzie, Rod Pampling, John Senden Defending champion: Steve Flesch Past Aussie winners: Nil Challenge Tour UAE Challenge Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, UAE 12.55pm Hayden Hopewell, Niklas Regner, Steven Tiley 1.15pm Maverick Antcliff, Toby Tree, Oliver Farr 1.05pm* Jarryd Felton, Daniel O’Loughlin, Kristoffer Reitan 6.05pm Jordan Zunic, Lucas Vacarisas, Tom Murray Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil Epson Tour Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, Garden City, Kansas Australasians in the field: Gabriela Ruffels, Robyn Choi, Amelia Garvey (NZ), Cassie Porter, Emily Mahar Defending champion: Gabriella Then Past Aussie winners: Nil PGA TOUR Latinoamerica Kia Open Quito Tenis y Golf Club, Quito, Ecuador 10.50pm Aaron Pike, Max Sekulic, Willy Pumarol 10.50pm* Charlie Hillier (NZ), Aaron Terrazas, Jaime Lopez Rivarola 3.10am Harry Hillier (NZ), Barrett Kelpin, Kaylor Steger 3.30am* Denzel Ieremia (NZ), Declan Kenny, David Pastore Defending champion: Manav Shah Past Aussie winners: Nil
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