Last roundup for Dallas stars: Spotlight on Day, Garcia

By Ryan Reiterman May 20, 2017, 11:51 pm

IRVING, Texas – At 60 feet, a bro yelled, “Get in the hole!” when Jason Day’s birdie putt left the face of his putter at the par-3 17th.

As his ball gently fell over the slope, the low buzz of the crowd grew louder and louder.

At 6 feet from the hole, Day raised his arms as he sensed something big was about to happen.

When the putt disappeared into the cup, Day let out a celebratory scream that was drowned out by the well-oiled fans surrounding the signature hole at the TPC Four Seasons.

“It was a very, very loud roar,” Day said after signing for a 7-under 63 that left him two strokes behind James Hahn at the AT&T Byron Nelson. “It's really cool to be able to do that again. Just goes to show that you can never really underestimate holing putts like that because it's just such a cool feeling.”

With his eighth birdie on Saturday, the former Dallas resident pumped his fists in the air and gave the tournament a serious jolt of excitement after the third round started with Jason Kokrak threatening to run away from the field.

Nursing a five-shot lead, Kokrak tripled the par-3 fifth  and opened the door for his fellow pros.

Day busted through like the Kool-Aid man.

Day’s performance matched the boldness of his wardrobe - an electric yellow shirt and black pants. He dropped five straight birdies on Nos. 7-11, and he almost made it six in a row, but he missed a 7-foot putt on 12.

“I thought it was going to keep on going the way I was playing,” he said. “Felt really good.”

After his lone bogey at the par-4 14th, the 2010 Nelson champ just missed an eagle putt from 13 feet at the par-5 16th and he briefly tied the lead with his thunderous putt on 17.

“I've been in this position before, especially at this golf course,” Day said. “I'm looking forward to the challenge tomorrow. It's going to be a lot of fun. It's been awhile since I've been back in the spotlight.”

Day wasn’t the only player to make a big move on Saturday.

Hahn began the week with a 6-under 64, shot even par Friday, and then he came roaring back in Round 3 with another 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Billy Horschel into the final round.

Hahn started his round by dunking a pitch shot for birdie at the par-4 third, and he made five more coming in to finish in the pole position.

“Anytime you're under par after nine holes, you're kind of freed up a little bit, and I feel like I did that today,” Hahn said. “Made some good decisions. Wasn't too aggressive with my approach shots. Felt like I could have made a couple extra putts coming down the stretch. Definitely happy with how I finished off the round today.”

He’ll be joined in the final group by Horschel, who was back to his fiery self, closing with three consecutive birdies for a 4-under 66. A new putter and a smoother tempo broke Horschel out of a slump following four straight missed cuts.

“It's been a tough four to six weeks, probably the toughest stretch of golf I've had since early in my career,” Horschel said. “It's nice to be seeing the signs of the fruits of labor, because we've put a lot of hours in.”

After a birdie at the par-5 16th, Horschel slapped his club to the ground when he saw his tee shot at 17 head left toward a greenside bunker. The 2014 season points champion provided another explosion of noise at the par 3 when he slammed his bunker shot into the hole for birdie.

“I think if I missed it would have been 5 feet by,” he said.

Horschel added one more birdie on 18 to put himself in a great position for his fourth PGA Tour tile and first since he earned a $10 million bonus at the 2014 Tour Championship.

Sunday will mark the final edition of the Nelson at TPC Four Seasons before it moves to nearby Trinity Forest, a new Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw design south of downtown Dallas.

Along with the colorful personalities of Hahn and Horschel, and the star-power of Day, the finale at Las Colinas will have another intriguing storyline.

Defending champion Sergio Garcia is not going down without a fight. A month after capturing his first major at Augusta, the Spaniard is only four back after he polished off a 6-under 64 with three birdies and a back-nine 29.

“If I can play the same way I played the last couple of days and hopefully put another good round, [we’ll] see what happens,” Garcia said.

Despite shooting a 2-over 72, Kokrak is still in a great position for his first win in 145 career starts. He’s tied for third with Day, two strokes behind Hahn.

“I'm happy with where I'm at,” Kokrak said. “I'm still playing good golf and, you know, roll a couple more putts in tomorrow and [it will] be a fun day tomorrow.”

Along with Horschel and Garcia, Cameron Tringale also ended his round with birdies at 16, 17 and 18 for a 3-under 67. He’s three off the lead and, like Kokrak, Tringale is eyeing his first win in his eighth year on Tour.

But even Hahn admitted the biggest crowd will probably not be following the final group. All eyes will be on Day as the former world No. 1 tries to win his first tournament in more than a year.

“I feel good about where the game is right now, [and trying] not to get ahead of myself because there's still one day of golf to be played here and got to enjoy the challenge tomorrow and have fun,” Day said.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."