As rains poured down on Valhalla Golf Club early Friday morning, there was a time when it didn’t look like the entire second round of the PGA Championship would be played. However, the rains let up enough for play to continue, and the softened course found itself vulnerable to big hitters and some low scores.
Obviously, Rory McIlroy‘s ascent to another major lead is the big story, but right behind him is somebody who we haven’t heard much from recently, Jason Day, who should keep the world’s No. 1 working.
Day went crazy on day two, firing the low round of the day with a six-under-par 65. Now at eight-under for the tournament, he’ll start the weekend tied with veteran Jim Furyk, and he’ll be one of the key figures to watch if anybody is to keep McIlroy’s dominance in check.
Day began 2014 in incredible form, and many people expected him to contend for major championships right out of the gate. His victory at the WGC Accenture Match Play over Victor Dubuisson solidified that view, but over the last few months, injuries have made him an unpredictable factor. The Aussie finished tied for fourth at the U.S. Open, but then missed the cut at Congressional, struggled at Royal Liverpool, and withdrew from the Bridgestone just one week ago.
In his post-round media sessions, Day admitted that even he was surprised about how well he performed, but that’s selling himself short. When asked about his prospects for the weekend, Day said that he was “clearly” not the favorite, citing McIlroy’s distance and accuracy from the tee as a huge advantage.
However, Day himself leads the field in greens in regulation. He also ranks fourth in driving distance, 17th in fairways hit, and has just two bogeys through 36 holes. Rory sits third in distance, but just 20th in greens hit and 25th in fairways. The gap between the two is almost none, at least in this tournament.
Jason Day’s talent has never been in question; he has a complete game and is in the process of establishing himself as one of the best players in the world when he’s healthy. If his various maladies are truly behind him, look for him to keep the pressure on McIlroy and keep things entertaining throughout the weekend.