Date: August 25, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Humbled Day makes slow progress

Jason Day admits it's been "humbling" entering the FedEx Cup playoffs out of the spotlight he's owned for the past three seasons.

And while a one-under-par 69 at Glen Oaks Club in New York today still left him T20 and five shots from the pace, he's confident he hasn't left it too late to reach the Tour Championship next month.

Day led the Australian contingent today as the Northern Trust began, the only Aussie in red figures on a day when a course new to the US PGA Tour gave up plenty of birdies, particularly to Russell Henley who found eight of them in his event-leading 64.

Marc Leishman and Rod Pampling each signed for 71s with a few errors wasting the handful of birdies that each made.

Geoff Ogilvy struggled to find the greens in his opening 72, while Cam Smith all but played his way out of contention with a 75.

Day, though, showed glimpses of brilliance despite an occasionally erratic driver, including a spectacular long-range up-down from the rough on the 10th to start his round at an early tee time that he hasn't been accustomed to, but that his pre-event 49th ranking booked.

"I'm not used to the really early tee times, I'll give you that," Day said with trademark grin.

"But the last two years, I've had an opportunity to win the FedExCup and someone's come from behind and won.

"It would be nice to be able to do that to someone, even though … I'd like to be in a better position.

"I need to do that to get myself into Tour Champs. If you can cap off a win here, you're pretty much guaranteeing yourself that you're going to be in TOUR Champs.

"If I do that, a little bit of pressure will come off my shoulders and I can worry about getting myself and playing my way into contention for the FedEx Cup."

But Day said his "under the radar" entry into the playoffs has been an eye-opener he hopes will soon be behind him after a year fighting injuries and personal problems.

"I didn't have any media Monday through Wednesday. I was a sponsor's pick for the pro-am. I'm like, whoa, what's going on here," he said with a laugh.

"It's been a long time since I've been one of those.

"It's humbling being in a position like this because I know I've had it good for a long time and through some poor play this year, I haven't been in the position that I would like to be.

"And humbling as in I need to work a lot harder than what I'm doing right now.

"I'm working hard (but I) just have to let the work catch up and hopefully it does shortly."