Day recalls magic of St Andrews

Jason Day is drawing on the magical memories of 2010 as he strives to break through for an overdue maiden major championship win at the home of golf.

It was five years ago at St Andrews where it all really began for Day.

Then only 22 but full of promise, the former world junior champion needed to rise at 4am to return to the Old Course on Saturday to complete the final three holes of his second round to make the cut on his major debut.

Playing alongside legendary five-times Open winner Tom Watson, Day was nervous as hell.

But after draining a 30-footer for par on the 16th and mustering a miracle up-and-down four on the famous Road Hole – after slashing his drive into deep scrub on the left – and then parring the last, Day managed to survive the halfway cut.

As a host of stars and major champions including Watson, Ernie Els, Lee Westwood and Bubba Watson perished in the brutal wind – and first-round leader Rory McIlory racked up a horror 80 – Day’s scrambling 74 helped the Queenslander to a tie for 60th.

“It was huge for me because it was my first-ever major and I wanted to make the cut so bad,” Day told AAP on the eve of his first round at this year’s Open starting on Thursday.

“I remember getting off the course about 10.45 the night before and having to stretch and all that and then be back in position for a 6.45 tee off in the morning.

“I had no sleep.”

Now Australia’s No.1 and a three-time major runner-up, Day recalls the experience as priceless.

“It was great to be here, especially at the home of golf playing my first British Open, my first championship, not really knowing what I’m doing and how I’m going about my game plan,” he said.

“So it was a good platform to see where I was at with my game and after that week it pushed me in the right direction.”

In addition to his three seconds, Day boasts eight top-10s in 16 majors, including an equal ninth last month after sharing the leading entering the final round of the US Open despite suffering vertigo.

But when he tees off on Thursday alongside Tiger Woods and Louis Oosthuizen, the winners of the past three Open championships at St Andrews, Day for the first time will be playing on a course he’s already encountered at a previous major.

The world No.9 knows that’s gold.

“This is one of those courses where you have to know where you’re going,” Day said.

“But it’s one of those courses where you can take more of an advantage of it if you get some good weather because the last three winners have been like 19, 17 and 13 under, something like that.

“So it’s typically one of those low-scoring British Opens. You have to get on top of it and capitalise on it.

“So being able to play here back then in 2010 and use that experience into this week and know kind of what I need to expect I think I’m ready for it.

“I’ve had three weeks off, I feel refreshed, I feel ready to go.”

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