Date: November 21, 2013
Author: Martin Blake / Royal Melbourne Golf Club

Day: Royal greens faster than Augusta

Jason Day has to be rusty. He has not played in five weeks, save for belting a few balls in the net of his garage at home in Ohio, and practising his chips in the basement, aiming at his infant son Dash&aposs toys. “He has a golf club as well so he hits golf balls and I hit golf balls. Most of the time I get to chip my golf balls, but sometimes he comes and gets them and throws them!&apos&apos It is hardly the standard professional&aposs preparation, but the Queenslander showed his mettle today, and his performance might just keep Australia in with a chance of winning the World Cup, as well as giving himself an opportunity to win a big tournament. Day shot a three-under-par 68 at Royal Melbourne on the first day to prevent Adam Scott&aposs earlier 75 from doing too much damage. Day is just two shots back from the lead held by Norway&aposs Thomas Bjorn and American Kevin Streelman, while the Australian team is six shots behind Norway and the US. Told in the scorers&apos tent that Scott had carded a nine on the par-four 12th, Day sympathised with his partner. “I heard he had a bad one, so it&aposs unfortunate,” Day said. “But for some reason every time he has a bad one, he always comes home strong.&apos&apos Scott is not hiding the fact he is tired after various commitments over the past fortnight, and wins in the Australian PGA and the Australian Masters. Day noticed it too. “He looks tired, he looks exhausted after the last two weeks. I know there is a lot of obligations he has had to do over the last two weeks.&apos&apos Although they are teammates here, Day said he had no plans to contact Scott tonight. “I won&apost speak to him. I don&apost want to bother him.&apos&apos Fatigue is the last of Day&aposs issues. He turned up early in Melbourne, insisting on three days of practice at Capital, Lloyd Williams&apos private facility near Royal Melbourne to sharpen his game. Even so, he was astonished at the bouncy Royal Melbourne greens today. “They&aposre faster than Augusta this year,&apos&apos he said. “We&aposre hitting wedges that bounce 20 yards.&apos&apos Day hits off at 11am tomorrow. Scott goes at 1.08pm. LEADERBOARD T1 Thomas Bjorn (DEN) -5 T1 Kevin Streelman (USA) -5 T3 Stuart Manley (WAL) -4 T3 K.J. Choi (KOR) -4 T3 Martin Laird (SCO) -4