Jason Day's quest for the world No. 1 ranking is underway with a sparkling three-under par 68 at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston today.
Day assumed a familiar spot on the leaderboard and is just three shots from the lead held by Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge, who started with a 65.
The Australian actually began his day on the back nine with three straight birdies, hitting it close at the par-four 10th, then making a three-metre birdie at the 11th and a long bomb at the 12th, reprising his remarkable feats at the Barclays Championship last week.
He was five-under par and hurtling along by the time he birdied the fourth hole, but a bogey at the fifth and then a three-putt bogey at the ninth hole, his last of the day, left him with a 68 on the par-71 TPC Boston lay-out.
Day, 27, has won three of his past four tournaments including his first major, the US PGA Championship.
He can take the No.1 ranking, a mantle he has always aspired to, if he wins the DB Championship this week and both the top two players — Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth — finish worse than second.
McIlroy carded an opening 70 to begin the tour's second playoff event, while Spieth, struggling by his standards, started with a 75.
Prior to the tournament Day acknowledged the carrot that is before him. "No. 1 is my No. 1 priority in life,'' said Day. "I've always wanted to get to No. 1 in the world. If we put aside World Ranking, Rory and Jordan are the two I'm shooting for. I've won six times in my career, which is … not a lot, but golf is a long career.
"I think I'm just a little bit behind them. I think with the way that I think I'm a little bit behind them makes me more hungry, makes me hungry to go and try to catch them. And I'm okay with that. I'm okay with that. I'm okay with being a little bit behind them. It just goes to show that I need to keep working harder.''
Sydney's Matt Jones went lowest of the Australians, playing alongside the rampant de Jonge and carding a four-under 67 to be in a tie for second when he signed his card. Marc Leishman had a 72 and Steven Bowditch and John Senden each had 76.