FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Jason Day was still knocking off the rust during the opening round of The Barclays, but he managed to get it around Bethpage Black in only 68 shots. Consider it one of the perks of being the best golfer in the world.
Day took three weeks off after the PGA Championship, but his first competitive round back included four birdies against one bogey and at 3 under, he sits just two shots off the pace set by Patrick Reed and Martin Laird.
“It was just a little bit I think more so rust, a bit of mental rust than physical rust, as well,” Day said. “It’s more the sharpness wasn’t quite there when you’re about two or three tournaments in. Overall, I felt great about how I felt like I played. Did a lot of good quality things out there.”
Day won this event a year ago at Plainfield Country Club, the second in a run of late-season victories that also included the PGA Championship and BMW Championship. Already with three wins to his credit this season, he views Bethpage as a major-caliber setup – and as a result, he likes what he sees.
“If you’re trying to win a tournament such as The Barclays, first FedEx Cup Playoff event, the best players in the world are playing here and it’s a U.S. Open-style golf course. It’s very difficult,” he said. “It’s the guy that manages (mentally) the best is going to win, because he’s going to do everything he possibly can not to fall for the little things out there, gather all the information he can and go from there.”