Jason Day escaped with a one-under 71 after a tumultuous third day at the British Open. Photo: Mike EhrmannTwo-time champion at St Andrews, Tiger Woods, has backed Australian Jason Day to win his maiden major at The Open after finishing the second round three shots from the lead.
The former world No.1 didn’t make the cut (+7), but the 39-year-old believes the Aussie is playing well enough to challenge for the Claret Jug on Monday.
The pair, who were grouped together, had a conversation on the way up the 18th hole in which Woods reflected on the specialness of the final hole at the home of golf.
“It’s one of the things I was talking about with Jason,” Woods said.
“We were coming up 18, I said, it’s the greatest walk in golf. He says, yeah, it’s nice when you have an eight-shot lead, too. I said, well, you just go ahead and go get that lead. He’s playing well enough to do it.
“But there’s a lot of guys who have a chance to win. This golf course is definitely gettable. The greens are soft and receptive, and if you’re driving it well and driving it long, this golf course is very much gettable.”
Day finished the second round, which was delayed more than 10 hours because of the severe wind around St Andrews, three shots behind leader Dustin Johnson, equal with fellow Aussie Adam Scott at seven under.
The 27-year-old dropped two shots in the 32 minutes of play that was allowed before the players were called in, but he insists he didn’t allow himself to be bitter about the decision to resume play with wind gusts of up to 65 km per hour.
“I just can’t afford to get frustrated and stew over it,” Day said.
“I was explaining earlier, there’s another 36 holes to be played after this round. I really want to win a major so bad that I just can’t afford to let it frustrate me.
“I’ve just got to keep moving forward and take it hole by hole and get this done, and I played pretty solid, shot one under, which was good in that wind, but it’s over now, and I’ve got round three and round four to go.”
Despite England’s Daniel Brooks landing a hole in one at the 11th, Johnson showed that he will take some catching. Hole in one! Watch Daniel Brooks ace the 11th hole at St Andrews. #Boom#TheOpenhttps://t.co/DnjBCtwABY— The Open (@TheOpen) July 18, 2015
But the man on everyone’s lips leading into the tournament, Jordan Spieth, is still in the hunt despite being five shots behind the pace.
The pursuit of the grand slam is still alive for Spieth, who insists he’s not too far back to make a run at his third major of the year.
“Yeah, I believe I’m still in contention,” Spieth said.
“I still believe I can win this tournament. I need a really solid round tomorrow, though, because Dustin is not letting up. He’s the only one I can speak of, he and Hideki [Matsuyama] because I saw it first hand. Dustin is going to shoot a good round tomorrow with less wind, and I’m going to need to shoot a great round to really give myself a chance.
“To fall from two back to five back isn’t exactly what I wanted on a Friday, but it could have been worse, could have been better. It is what it is, and if I can shoot something like 10-under in the last two rounds, I think I’ll have a chance to win.”
THE LEADERBOARD -10 Dustin Johnson (US) -9 Danny Willett (ENG) -8 Paul Lawrie (SCO) -7 Adam Scott (AUS) -7 Jason Day (AUS) -7 Marc Warren (SCO) -7 Zach Johnson (US) -7 Robert Streb (US) -7 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)
-5 Steven Bowditch (AUS) -5 Geoff Ogilvy (AUS) -5 Jordan Spieth (US) -5 Justin Rose (ENG) -5 Sergio Garcia (ESP) -3 Matt Jones (AUS) -3 Greg Chalmers (AUS)
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