Day overcomes Memorial hoodoo to fire opening 66
World No. 1 and Muirfield Village member Jason Day made a mockery of his many Memorial Tournament memories shooting a sizzling six under par 66 in suburban Dublin, Ohio.
It left Day trailing just two strokes behind American Dustin Johnson who had moved to nine under par through 17 holes but then dropped a shot at the last.
Johnson capped his round with a starting hat-trick of birdies and then four in succession from his 12th hole.
Day has never finished better than 27th place in the event hosted by legendary Jack Nicklaus and that was in 2009.
In fact, this year’s starting 66 was Day’s lowest round ever at Muirfield Village and a shot better than a 67 he has posted in that same 2009 edition of the tournament.
And what a turnaround from 12 months ago when Day shot a pair of 72s to miss the cut.
However form is everything in the ancient club-and-ball game and Day showed that in his first competitive round since capturing the Players Championship and his third PGA Tour success of the season.
The Cleveland-based Aussie posted a 15th hole eagle, where he hit his 207-yard second shot to two yards and holed the putt, along with seven birdies, including four in succession from the 11th hole.
Day’s only hiccup being a bogey at the sixth and a second dropped shot at the 14th.
“This is a golf course where you have to pick and choose where you feel comfortable and try and attack the course from there,” he said.
“But then in being a Muirfield member and to have played as poorly as I have in the past here is a little disappointing.”
“However, this is one tournament I would really love to have on my resume as Jack, Mr. Nicklaus, has done a phenomenal job in presenting the course the way he has and showcasing the tournament.”
“But right now I can’t focus on the end result as I need to focus on tomorrow’s round but it’s a great start and I am very pleased with a 66, so I am very happy.”
And with the U.S. Open just a fortnight away, Day could also not be happier in heading into a Major Championship as the game’s best player.
“I am in a good place and as long as I keep doing the stuff that I am doing in the gym my body will hold up and I will be strong,” he insisted,
“Also as long as I keep working out for the six-and-half-hours a day that I have been undergoing when I am not competing then I will hold up. The mental side of my game is up to me.”
“I’ve been saying that I want to extend my World Ranking lead from No. 1 to No. 2 given what Rory (McIlroy) and Jordan (Spieth) have managed in the past two weeks, what with Rory winning the Irish Open the week before last and then Jordan winning the Colonial last week.”
“So, I still have to try and put the foot down and really just try and work as I can and really extend my World Ranking lead. That is the biggest challenge for me.”
Jason Day’s Memorial Record (2008 To 2015)
- 2015 – Missed cut
- 2014 – T37th
- 2013 – T41st
- 2012 – Missed Cut
- 2010 – T33rd
- 2009 – T27th
- 2008 – Missed cut
- Lowest round 2008 to 2015 – 67 day one 2009
- Highest score 2008 to 2015 – 82 second round 2008