Jason Day’s British Open first round six-under 66 was impressive for many reasons, but the fact his late charge came in a wind he usually struggles with has the Queenslander primed for another significant major championship push.
Day played the opening nine holes in a more-than-respectable 33 shots, with the wind predominantly behind and off the right.
But it was a far cry from a record-equalling 29 shot by Swede David Lingmerth, while four players, including leader Dustin Johnson and grand slam hopeful Jordan Spieth, took just 31 shots on the more benign side.
Turning into the teeth of it, Day added another 33, the equal best score of the back side, to be just one off the lead.
With the forecast suggesting heavy rains and a shift in the wind from southeast to southwest during round two, plenty of players have been bemoaning the round ahead.
But Day hopes he’s conquered his toughest weather demons already.
“Today is usually the harder wind for me,” he admitted.
“You’d think that should help me and I am really looking forward to the next three days. I am going to need to stay patient, keep the right attitude and just try to keep pushing forward.
“In saying that, tomorrow’s 25-mile-an-hour winds will be tough no matter what way they come from.”
Now with eight top-10 finishes in 19 major championships, Day has been primed for a maiden major for some time.
His multiple near misses have a common theme – he has enough birdies, but always too many mistakes.
With this in mind, two grinding par saves on the final two holes ensured the 27-year-old stayed ahead of the curve.
He got up and down for par with a lovely chip on the treacherous road hole 17th, a brute that yielded 84 bogeys and 18 doubles or worse while being the only hole not to give up a birdie.
Then after chunking a wedge into the valley of sin on the 18th, he managed to once again get up and down to protect his score.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t the greatest wedge shot to finish off, but I’m not complaining because there was a couple of par saves that I really needed out there today, and I got them.”