Day settles for 61 at BMW; Spieth birdies last for 65

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Jason Day’s bid for 59 didn’t even have a chance Friday.

He was more disappointed by the par.

Needing to hole a 44-yard pitch shot out of thick, juicy rough, Day’s ball spun up the face of his club and landed softly on the ninth green, leaving him 8 feet short of the cup. He rimmed out his birdie putt, settling for a career-best, 10-under 61 and a four-shot lead at the BMW Championship.

“(A) 59 would have been great,” he said afterward, “but trying to get that extra birdie was the main goal.”

Day said he didn’t dwell on his shot at 59 “at all” on Thursday night. When he arrived at Conway Farms early Friday morning – play restarted at 7:30 a.m. local – he practiced low, skipping pitch shots in the short-game area, but recreating the tangled lie proved difficult after heavy overnight rain.

Ironically, it was Jordan Spieth, not Day, who came closest to holing out on the final green.

His wedge shot from 87 yards hit short of the flag and nearly spun back into the cup. The ensuing 3-foot birdie capped an inward 29 that gave him a 6-under 65. 

Spieth, who entered this week after back-to-back missed cuts, looked ordinary for 10 holes Thursday but came alive with a hole-in-one on the second hole (his 11th), a chip-in birdie on the third, and short birdie putts on Nos. 4 and 7.

“That’s the only way I could win a hole,” he joked of his ace.

Spieth attributed the turnaround to a better attitude. When he’s struggled during these playoffs, it was mostly because of a lack of patience – after all, he watched Bubba Watson light up Plainfield, and Day go low early at TPC Boston and now here at Conway.

“I stayed patient, just kind of laughed it off,” he said. “This is what he’s doing right now, and so I just tried to play my game, and that was the difference.” 

Day, Spieth and the third member of the group, Rickie Fowler, who shot 69 in the first round, are scheduled to tee off again at 11:39 a.m. ET. 

“It sounds like everyone is disappointed,” Day said with a laugh. “Selfishly, 59 would have been great, but right now I’m just trying to focus on winning the tournament. I think that’s more important than shooting the 59.”