LAKE FOREST, ILL. — The Jason Day Playoffs, sponsored by FedEx, continued at Conway Farms Friday. Apparently, Day is so selfish that he’s not going to let us write about anyone else.
So you want to play hardball, Day? Fine. We can play that way too.
Day slumped terribly on a rain-soaked Conway Farms track here Friday at the BMW Championship. Even though he got lucky and eagled the 18th hole, the best Day could do was a crummy 63. Tack that on to his lackluster opening 61 and yeah, it adds up to 18 under par. That’s still two strokes worse than what he shot to win the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
Of course, that was after 72 holes.
Day is 18 under here in a so-called big-deal tournament after 36 holes. If Conway Farms is starting to look like a challenging pitch-and-putt track, blame Day. When he finished the round and shook hands with playing partner Jordan Spieth, all the 22-year-old could do was shake his head and say, “Wow.”
Spieth also eagled the 18th hole. Four of the top eight players on the leaderboard eagled that hole Friday. See that, Day? You didn’t do anything, uh, extra special.
Up to two inches of rain fell in Thursday night’s storms, so the course was softened dramatically from the first-round conditions. Give Tour players soft greens, and they will shoot a course to pieces. Daniel Berger shot 64 and Brendon Todd shot 63 and they’re tied at 13 under, five behind Day. Kevin Na and Jordan Spieth at -11 are the only other players within a touchdown of Day.
So, grudgingly, yeah, your PGA champ played pretty well again even though the course is yielding low scores.
“If you’re not shooting in the mid-60s, you’re going backwards,” said Rory McIlroy, who posted 65. “It feels like you give yourself a chance for birdie on every hole.”
Todd was asked if Conway Farms really felt like a par-71 course, what with soft greens and some drivable par-4 holes.
“Those holes aren’t drivable for me,” said Todd with a laugh. “Rory is the No. 1 player in the world, so he can say things like that. I’m treating it like par 71.”
Berger was asked what it was like to shoot 65-64 and not have it seem like a great score.
“I played pretty good to get to 13 under,” he said. “I don’t think it’s really that easy. Obviously, Jason is playing good yet again.”
It wasn’t that good. All Day’s total of 124 did was tie the all-time PGA Tour 36-hole scoring record. Did he break it? Nah. Maybe he should’ve tried harder.
“I should’ve gotten to 19,” Day said, grinning. “I had that bogey. I’m in good company at 124. It’s only 36 holes. I’d like to have the scoring record for 72 holes. That’d be nice.”
Day had seven birdies, an eagle and a bogey Friday. That stereotype of a golfer being in the zone — well, Day is apparently in some kind of zone. One of them is the Central Time Zone. The other? He’s not sure.
“I don’t know how to explain how I’ve been playing,” he said. “Loose, free and no stress.”
Day came back out early Friday morning to finish the first round. He’d left it hanging when storms arrived Thursday afternoon. He had a long pitch shot from the rough for eagle to shoot 59. He made par, instead, for 61.
“I came out this morning and I didn’t shoot 59 and I felt people were disappointed in me,” Day said. “It’s always hard to back up a low round. Today we had calmer conditions and receptive fairways and greens.”
All right, this guy is on a tear. He’s so nice and humble and easy-going that it’s impossible to be disappointed in him.
Asked by a reporter about one of his goals, to play dominant-style golf the way Tiger Woods once did, Day almost laughed.
“He’s won 79 times, I’ve won six,” Day said. “I’m hardly dominant. I’m just trying to get to No. 7 and if I do that, try to get to No. 8 next week. If you win, everything else takes care of itself.”
A victory this week would vault Day into the World No. 1 ranking no matter where Spieth or McIlroy finishes. That, too, is a goal of Day’s.
“It’s a career goal,” he said. “I’m not going to live or die by that. Hopefully, I’ve got a long time to get there.”
Due to expected overnight rains, Saturday’s play will be in threesomes off two tees and won’t start until 11 a.m. ET, in order to give grounds crews more time to prepare the course. Day will play with Berger and Todd after two rounds with Spieth and Rickie Fowler.
Day was asked what he thought it was like for his playing partners to watch the kind of golf he’s been playing of late.
“It’s kind of what Jordan Spieth has done most of the year,” Day said. “I can’t lie, the summer has been fantastic for me.”
No argument there. Let the Jason Day Playoffs, sponsored by FedEx, continue.