Date: May 19, 2017
Author: Bernie McGuire, Texas

Day channels his inner Seve

Jason Day revived memories of the late, great Seve Ballesteros in making a birdie from a cart path midway through his opening round of the AT&T Byron Nelson in Texas today.

Day hit a booming 297m drive well right at the par-four 11th hole that came to rest on a cart path, but less than 30m from the hole.

With TV analysts suggesting the World No.3 had no chance of finding the green with his second, the Queenslander defied the critics chipping off the concrete path to brilliantly finish just 12 feet from the flag.

Then to leave those commentators even more speechless, Day calmly holed the birdie putt – much to the delight of a huge gathering following the 2010 champion, his maiden PGA Tour title.

Ballesteros made a career for himself in getting up–and–down from some miraculous scenarios.

There is a plaque deep in the treeline and close to an 3m wall where Seve played a shot to force a playoff at the 1993 European Masters.

However, there was the recovery shot of all recovery shots for Seve at the 1979 Open when the Spaniard drove his 16th tee shot on the final day into a car park, but conjured a miracle recovery on to the green and holed the birdie putt en route to the first of three Open titles.

“It's kind of a hard shot … in this wind I think everyone is kind of scrambling, so I was not going to drop the ball way back on to the other side of the road,” Day said.

“It was quite a simple shot. You just had to contact it correctly, contact it well, just get over and roll down the hill.

“Sometimes you can get away with those ones. Obviously, I got lucky off the cart and bounced back. I think for the most part everyone kind of scrambled a little bit today but I have good memories coming around this golf course, my first win as a Tour professional and I have three more days to go.”

Day eventually signed for a two-under par 68 to join fellow Aussies Marc Leishman and Greg Chambers in a share of 14th in the $US7.5m event.

Day's round featured a 25-foot putt for an eagle at the seventh, but his rollercoaster outward nine also produced three bogeys.

After his heroics on 11, Day bogeyed 14 and then sunk a curling 28-footer for birdie on the last.

“It was a bit of everything out there today so finish with a two-under is very pleasing,” he said.

“The wind out there this afternoon made conditions really tough so hopefully going back out there in the morning, the wind will be a little calmer.”

There was also a poignant aspect to the round will all the Australians in the field wearing a special patch in honour of John Sendon’s young son, Jacob, who has been diagnosed with a brain tumour.

“It's not easy to go through whatever it is, if it's loved ones, people you know, it's never good things, especially as a child, his boy, you never want that to happen to a child,” Day said.

“It's really, really sad. I've got two kids and could never even fathom thinking about going through something like that. It breaks my heart for him and, you know, I'm just hoping and praying for the best for him and his family because it is a difficult time for him.

“I went through some cancer stuff with Mum this year and I know exactly what he's feeling like with regard to that, but it's just … you can't do anything but just hope and pray that everything is going to be fine and the chemotherapy and the radiation he's going through will minimise the tumour that he has right now.

“Clearly, everyone is thinking about him, everyone is wearing the patch and the Rubik Cube. We're hoping for all the best.”

The American duo of Rickie Barnes and John Hahn share the lead with six-under-par 64s while world No.1 Dustin Johnson is well positioned at three under.