Imagine traveling back in time just a few short months and telling the world right after the US Open that by mid-September, Jordan Spieth was no longer the odds-on favorite to be the Player of the Year.
They’d gawk and call foul and wonder what you were smoking, until you told them about the marvelous ascent of Jason Day.
That ascent continued Friday morning, with Day finishing off his suspended first round at the BMW Championship by just missing a 59, “settling” for a career-best 61 and a wide lead after 18 holes on the third leg of the FedEx Cup Championship.
It would have taken an eagle from 44 yards out to reach 59 for Day, but he ended up two-putting the final hole, NO. 9 for him.
His 61 gives him a four-stroke lead as play resumes this morning. Six players fired 65s in the first round to sit four strokes back of Day, among them current No. 1 Spieth and Bubba Watson, who is fourth in the FedEx Cup standings behind Day, Spieth, and Rickie Fowler.
It was easily Spieth’s best first round since the FedEx Cup post-season started, and all but guarantees he’ll make the cut this week after missing it at both the Deutsche Bank Championship and The Barclays.
Starting on the back nine Thursday, Day was -4 at the turn, then caught fire with an eagle on No. 1, and birdies on 2 and 3 to reach -8 through 12 holes. He added birdies on 7 and 8 to sit 10-under with a 57, meaning he needed an eagle or better to finish below 60.
Spieth looked in for another long round at the start, just 1-over through six holes before birdying 18 to reach the turn at even par. He finished the front nine just as hot as Day – with a 6-under 29, highlighted by an ace on No. 2, his second hole-in-one of the season.
Watson did most of his damage on the back nine, with six birdies there. Fowler, the Deutsche Bank Champion, shot a 2-under 69 and is tied for 28th.