LAKE FOREST, Ill. – There is only 44 yards between Jason Day and another 59 at Conway Farms.
The way he’s playing these days, don’t count him out.
After a much-needed bye week, Day picked up right where he left off Thursday at the weather-delayed BMW Championship. He made nine birdies, holed a long bunker shot for eagle and gave himself a chance on the last – a 44-yard wedge shot from the right rough to a front-left hole location – to shoot the seventh 59 in PGA Tour history, and the second in the past four rounds here.
“If it goes in, it goes in,” he said. “Right now, I’m just trying to play the best I can.”
Day was so in the zone Thursday that he didn’t even realize he was on the verge of history. In fact, it wasn’t until Jordan Spieth told him on their walk up the ninth fairway that Conway Farms was a par 71, not 72, and Day’s eyes widened.
“Obviously I’ve got an opportunity to do it tomorrow,” he said, “so that’s pretty neat.”
His bid for 59 will resume at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday, but already there is a sense of inevitability about this week’s outcome. With one hole left to play, Day is already four shots clear of the field.
Perhaps it wasn’t a surprise, then, that as he sauntered through the locker room during the delay, a few players posed these questions:
Are you playing from the ladies’ tees?
Are you playing a different course?
Are you playing every hole downwind?
Because it sure appears that way. He is now 89 under par over his last seven PGA Tour starts.
Making Day’s performance Thursday even more impressive was that he shot this round in a consistent 15-mph wind. Breaking in a new driver, he uncorked six drives of at least 325 yards and has needed only 21 putts on the greens.
Good luck beating that combination.
The only double-digit, under-par round he has shot on Tour came this year at Kapalua, when he closed with 62. Barring a final-hole collapse, he will record his fourth round of 62 or better this season – no other player has more than two.
“It feels like a practice round, like it doesn’t really matter,” he said. “No matter what you do, even if you hit a bad shot, it’s going to be all right. I’m just playing golf. I’m excited about playing golf.”
Once again, Day stole the show on a day that featured plenty of electricity even before the storm rolled in.
In the star-studded group with Spieth and Rickie Fowler – Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in the FedEx Cup, and a trio that has won 11 events worldwide and three majors – Day proved that he has no rival at the moment.
Opening up with three birdies in his first four holes, he holed a 77-yard bunker shot to start his inward nine and then rolled in a 20-footer on top of Spieth’s ace on the second hole (their 11th).
“It’s like I’m a paid amateur just watching,” Spieth said as he walked off the green. “It’s a joke. It’s been like this for weeks.”
Indeed, it seems like only the weather can slow down Day. Since the U.S. Open, he has three wins, two other top-10s and no finish worse than 12th.
“I’m not trying to think about it,” he said, “because the moment that I start attaching myself to a number, I start thinking about the outcome instead of just trying to get out there and rip my driver as far as possible down the fairway.”
Spieth was on the verge of getting lapped before that hole-in-one on the 184-yard second hole. It proved to be just the spark he needed.
Growing increasingly frustrated with the putter and wrestling with his full swing, his second career ace vaulted him into red numbers, and he followed it up with a chip-in birdie on 3, a 5-foot birdie on 4 and 3-footer on 7. He is 5 under and facing an 87-yard approach on the last, ensuring that he will end a run of four consecutive over-par rounds.
“This is the nine holes that I needed to really feel confident and comfortable and back on track,” he said.
Fowler, the third member of the group, is 1 under playing the last hole.
All three players are virtually guaranteed to be in the top five of the FedEx Cup standings heading into the Tour Championship. That means they would win the FedEx Cup title, and the $10 million bonus, with a victory next week at East Lake.
“I’m just ready,” Day said. “I feel good about how I feel mentally, physically, and the golf game feels nice.”