Patient Day in prime position at Open
Australia’s Jason Day has played just a handful of majors but when it comes to remaining patient nothing has compared to the first two days of this year’s Open Championship at Muirfield.
The 25-year-old Queenslander, despite carrying an injury just below his left shoulder, is again well in contention to capture a first Major after rounds of 73 and 71 to be at two over par and just three shots behind Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez, who leads golf’s oldest major on five under.
Jason Day (Credit: Eoin Clarke/www.golffile.ie)
Day burst onto the Majors stage in an impressive manner two years ago at the Masters when he finished joint runner-up with fellow Australian Adam Scott at Augusta National.
The Ohio-based Day then went within a whisker of winning this year’s Masters before settling for third place behind Scott.
And now after two rounds, Day is very much in frame to break through and join Scott as a second Australian-born Major Champion in 2013.
“It’s difficult to go around a golf course like this bogey free and I’m just so glad I had a lot of birdies out there – well it felt like I had a lot of birdies considering the conditions,” he said.
“It was very difficult for those teeing up this afternoon.”
“The course played so much tougher today than yesterday as there was a lot of side winds and with the pars 3s on the back nine particularly playing a lot tougher.”
“Today I was hitting 3-iron into the 4th and 5-iron into 16 whereas yesterday I was hitting 8 and 9-irons into those holes, so it just a total different golf course.”
“Some holes did play easier but that said if we continue to get this easterly wind we had today the course in only going to get a lot more drier and burnt out and that will mean play difficult for a lot of us.”
Day is competing in his third Open Championship after having finished 60th in 2010 and 30th in 2011 but then nothing has quite prepared him for the conditions he’s faced over two days on the sun-baked Scottish links gem, Muirfield.
“The conditions this week have really surprised me because when we were at St. Andrews (2010) we had a lot of wind and at Royal St. Georges (2011) we had a lot of wind and a lot of rain,” he said.
“Both those golf courses were still running out but nowhere near as much as it has been here.”
“I am pretty much still a rookie with regards to playing the Open Championship and playing links golf, and in saying that I am trying to learn the best I can and I feel like I have handled myself well over these two days pretty well.”
But then in terms of patience it is the toughest two days Day says he’s ever experienced.
“This is definitely the hardest major I’ve played in patience-wise because it is just very difficult to get the ball near the hole,” he said.
“When you know that you have a wedge in your hand and you are standing there looking at a pin, and you know you have to hit it 20-feet left or 20-feet right, or leave it short or long, then that’s the kind of patience you are looking for.”
“Once you starting attacking pins you then start making mistakes, and you start getting frustrated as this is a golf course that easily get you quickly very frustrated.
“We saw Charl Schwartzel yesterday. He rallied back today but he looked very frustrated like a lot of guys.”
And Day was asked about a right wrist injury he carried into the Open Championship and confirmed the source of his pain has been traced to his pectoralis minor muscle located just under his right shoulder.
“I went into the fitness van the other day and they think it is a pinched nerve in my pec minor,” he said touching the upper left side of his body just below shoulder.
“So the pain now goes all the way down from just below my shoulder to my wrist. It’s sore to touch so I am going to have my physio guy to have a further look at it and flush it out and get all the gunk out of the shoulder because right now to touch it, it’s really sore.
“It really hurts particularly playing punch shots or hitting out of a bunker on an upslope.”