Jason Day surged into contention at the US PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta with a late flurry at East Lake today.
Day, the world No. 1, made a two-putt birdie at the 18th hole to card an opening 67, three-under par, and move within a shot of the lead through the first round of the lucrative season-ending tournament.
His day had begun with a bogey and he only hit five fairways, but Day's putting again saved him, and he made four birdies and no major mistakes from that point to reel his round back in.
The Australian had been in doubt until a few days before the tournament because of a back injury that forced him to withdraw from the BMW Championship, but he showed no signs of a problem today in Atlanta. "In a perfect world, I would love to have two weeks off where I can just really try to settle the back down,'' he said later.
"It's not 100 percent, but who is 100 percent out here that's playing right now? A lot of guys are playing with some sort of injury. I'm just a little worse off than most guys. But it's not an excuse. I've still got to play the golf that needs to be played to try and beat these guys. Unfortunately, they're not going to be sympathetic to me. They're not going to let me go, You know what, your back is sore. We'll give you a couple of shots on the back side. It's not going to be like that. I've still got to beat the guys.''
Day trails Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and Americans Dustin Johnson and Kevin Chappell, who all began with 66.
Day's fellow-Australian Adam Scott also made a run on the back nine but gave back shots on the 15th and 16th holes and eventually carded a one-under par 69.
Both Australians lost ground on the Fedex Cup projections, with Day dipping from fourth to fifth and Scott from third to sixth, while Johnson remains in the No. 1 spot in the race for the $US 10 million bonus for the leading point-scorer across the season.