Only a thunderstorm could halt a red-hot Jason Day as he flirts with a magical 59 and is on track for a fourth win in six starts and a serious assault at world No.1.
Day was 10 under par through 17 holes in the opening round at the BMW Championship when inclement weather forced players from the course, left with a 44-yard pitch shot from the rough for what would be just the seventh 59 in US PGA Tour history.
He will return early Friday morning to attempt the feat on the same hole the last 59 was recorded by Jim Furyk two years ago.
While the sub-60 round is unlikely, Day has opened up a four-shot lead over American Daniel Berger, who holed out for eagle on the same hole Day sits on to close out a six-under-65.
World No.2 Jordan Spieth, who was playing with Day, sits tied third at five under where he is joined by fellow Americans Brendon Todd (66), Kevin Chappell (16 holes) and Justin Thomas (13 holes).
Current No.3 Day would likely take over the world No.1 spot with a victory at Conway Farms Golf Club and despite Spieth’s epic two-major winning year and Rory McIlroy’s usual presence at the top there would be little argument given his recent dominance.
Wins at the Canadian Open, a record breaking PGA Championship win and another win at the Barclays in his past five starts have his peers in awe and had Day saying he felt like the player to beat when he turned up.
“It feels like a practice round, like it doesn’t really matter.
And no matter what you do, even if you hit a bad shot, it’s going to be all right,” Day said of his hot round.
“I feel like this is one of the best rounds I’ve ever played, especially with how the wind is.
“I’m walking through the locker room and people are going, `you’re playing off the ladies’ tees’, or `you’re playing a different golf course’, or `every time you stand up there and hit a drive it’s downwind for you’,” he continued.
“It’s good to see that the guys are recognising that I’m playing good. Obviously it’s a good round. But I’m not thinking about it too much. I don’t want to get too high or too low.”
Day’s previous low on the US Tour is 62, which he has posted three times, all this season.
His round featured nine birdies, a hole out eagle from a fairway bunker and just a lone bogey.
While the bunker hole out from 77 yards on the first, his 10th of the round, was impressive, it wasn’t the clutch moment – that came a hole later.
On the par-three second Day hit his tee ball to 20-feet and then watched Spieth make a hole-in-one.
As the 22-year-old Texan revelled in finally making a little headway into Day’s hot start, the Australian buried the birdie.
Spieth then chipped in for another birdie on three but watched as Day matched him again.
Day was not even aware he had a legitimate chance at 59 until after the horn blew.
“I’m just trying to get as many birdies as I can because I’m trying to push as forward as much as possible,” he said.
“I don’t want to stop. To be honest, I thought it was par-72 (not 71), so I’m sitting there going, 10-under, there’s no chance at all I can get it, but if it goes in tomorrow, it goes in.
“Obviously I want to hole it.”
Steven Bowditch remains on track to find his way to next weeks Tour Championship as he sits even-par through 13 holes but Matt Jones, who must finish high to advance, has started poorly at four-over through 14 holes.