Sport Golf

Sunday 4 December 2016

Spieth: Day like Tiger in his prime

William S Callahan

Published 19/09/2015 | 02:30

Jordan Spieth drives off at the BMW Championship at Lake Forest as his world rankings rival Jason Day looks on
Jordan Spieth drives off at the BMW Championship at Lake Forest as his world rankings rival Jason Day looks on

Jason Day's recent performances are reminiscent of Tiger Woods in his prime - and that's coming from Jordan Spieth, who spent the last two days in awe of the Australian's scintillating form in the $8.25m BMW Championship at Conway Farms, Illinois.

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Spieth, winner of the Masters and US Open, has had to bow the knee to Day over the last month during which the Australian triumphed in the US PGA Championship and The Barclays, the first of the four FedEx Cup play offs.

Day completed his first round at 7.30am due to Thursday evening's suspension of play caused by a thunderstorm in the Chicago area with a ten-under-par 61.

He then proceeded to carve a swathe through the field for a 63 which included holing a 40-foot putt for eagle on the last to take him to 18 under for the tournament.

That gave him a five-shot lead ahead of Daniel Berger and Brendon Todd on 13 under par.

Spieth played alongside Day and Rickie Fowler, winner of the Deutsche Bank championship two weeks ago, and they were left gasping for air in Day's exhaust fumes.

"I've seen it now for four events first hand alongside Jason from the Sunday at the PGA, through the first two rounds of the last two tournaments and here, and it's an incredible display of golf," said Spieth.

"He's hitting it the longest, the straightest. He's putting the best. When I say it, it sounds a lot like people told me when Tiger was in his prime.

"Obviously it's a little soon to say that, but the golf he's played here is tough to play alongside.

"When he's getting so deep under par and you're trying to catch him, you get too aggressive and that's where my mistakes were."

The Texan finished on a high with an eagle on the par-five 18th for a 66 which left him tied for fourth place on 11 under alongside Kevin Na, who also shot 66.

Dream

Day hopes the dream golf will continue over the next two days.

"It's been a great summer for me. I've just got keep rolling with this, I've just got to keep pushing forward," said Day.

Rory McIlroy, making only his third competitive appearance since he fractured an ankle ligament in early July, mixed some impressive driving and iron play with a couple of lapses on the greens that left him frustrated.

Many other pros in the tournament would be delighted with 68, 65 for nine under par going into the weekend but McIlroy knew it could have been even better.

"I feel like I've left a lot of shots out there the last couple of days," he said.

"The course is obviously playing quite easy. You can see that from the scores out there.

"I feel like I played well today. No bogeys on the card, but I'm disappointed at how I finished on the last four holes and not picking any shots up there. I wish I could have got to double digits under par.

"But if I go really low over the weekend, I have a chance."

Earlier, McIlroy was buoyed up by his shot of the day, a 42-yard pitch following a 310-yard drive for an eagle two on the seventh hole.

"This was nice. I took advantage of hitting a good drive, and the pitch went in a little speedy, but it was nice to see one drop and it kick-started the round a little bit," he said.

The going was soft following a storm on Thursday evening and more rain early yesterday morning, so placing was allowed.

On the European Tour, Peter Lawrie was the best of the Irish in the Italian Open at Golf Club Milano.

Lawrie's 68, 67 for nine under par left him just four shots off the lead held jointly by Jens Fahrbring (Sweden) and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard who shot 64 and 65 respectively and set the pace at 13 under.

Padraig Harrington (70), Darren Clarke (70) and Paul McGinley (72) all qualified on the cut line at four under par.

Rookie pro Gavin Moynihan (73, 76) ended a tumultuous week following the Walker Cup win and turning pro with a valuable learning experience, albeit that he missed the cut on five over par.

Also going home early were Simon Thornton (-1), Kevin Phelan (+1) and Damien McGrane (+2).

Italian Open

Live, Sky Sports 4 (red button), 12.0pm

Solheim Cup

Live, Sky Sports 4, 6.30am

BMW Championship

Live, Sky Sports 4, 7.0pm

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