By Jeremy Harness
Jason Day channeled his inner Michael Jordan on Friday.
Day, who beat J.B Holmes in a playoff in last week’s Farmers Insurance Open, made a big charge on Friday, in spite of being in a less-than-optimal condition.
Just as Jordan once led his team to victory in the NBA Finals with the flu, Day woke up Friday morning with a flu that had him seriously thinking about not playing at all. However, he said that once he hit the course, he began to feel better but still did not eat anything until well after the round out of fear that it would not stay down.
And much like the case in Jordan’s leading the Chicago Bulls over the Utah Jazz in 1997, Day’s performance completely masked how he was feeling, as he turned in a nine-under 62 at Monterey Peninsula Country Club to vault him right back into the thick of things.
“I didn’t think I was going to play, especially 30 minutes before my round because I was feeling pretty awful,” said Day, who is currently tied for 14th and is only three shots behind after struggling to an even-par opening round on Thursday. “(But) just once I got out there, I started feeling a little bit better. (But) now my goal is to really try and rest up and get some energy and have a good one (Saturday).
“My putter was hot today. I hit a lot of good shots off the tee and into the greens, and then holed a lot of putts.”
Brandt Snedeker, who is known for his deft putting touch, made his own surge, hitting all 18 of his greens on his way to a bogey-free 67 and found himself tied for the lead as the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am heads into the weekend.
“For me, everything revolves around my short game and putting,” Snedeker said. “I’m putting well, and that bleeds into every part of my game. I worked really hard on that, because the end of last year, I was playing great and putting terrible, and not getting the results I felt like I deserved.”
However, while Snedeker and Day are obviously trending in the right way, John Daly took a considerable step back on Friday.
The long-hitter, these days known better for his colorful golf attire than his game on the course, bogeyed two of his first three holes at Monterey Peninsula. He fought back on the back nine with a pair of birdies, but a damaging bogey at the 17th hole sent him into the clubhouse with a one-over 72, one day after shooting a seven-under 65 at Pebble Beach.
Just as the score indicated, Daly’s statistics in each of the two rounds this week have been completely different. Although he hit more fairways Friday than was the case in the opening round, his distance was significantly shorter off the tee, resulting in fewer greens hit and, thus, creating fewer birdie opportunities.
Daly is still in the hunt, but he is now six shots off the lead and is currently tied with 12 other players for 37th in the tournament.