FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – As Jason Day can attest, things can change in a hurry on a course as difficult as Bethpage Black.
The world No. 1 was firing on all cylinders early in the second round of The Barclays, reeling off four straight birdies on Nos. 4-7 to catch Patrick Reed atop the leaderboard. But Day gave those shots back over the very next three holes, highlighted by a double bogey on No. 9, and he now trails Reed by four shots after a 1-under 70.
“I had it going great, and I felt like, ‘What’s the course record?’” Day said. “Obviously it can turn pretty quick, especially if you’re out of position.”
Like several top-ranked players, Day entered off a three-week layoff and hadn’t hit a competitive shot since the PGA Championship. He highlighted his driver as an area of concern through two rounds, having found only 11 of 28 fairways thus far this week.
“The driving hasn’t been spot-on, but I know the reps that I’ve done prior to this will hopefully catch up to my game and I’ll start driving it a little better,” he said.
Day is no stranger to conditions on a major-caliber layout, and he’s well aware of the mental and physical demands they can place on a player. After kicking off “rust” in the opening round, he feels equipped and prepared to contend this week on a course that should only get more difficult as the tournament progresses.
“Just go grind it out,” he said. “There was a couple times today where it was hot and sticky, and you’re just grinding it out. You’re just like, ‘I don’t know if I can grind it out anymore.’ If you get past today, you’ll come out tomorrow, hopefully everything will be better. Get some good rest tonight and get into it tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to the weekend. I feel like I’m really close.”