JASON MUST CUT HOR­ROR DAYS Con­sis­tency the key to taste vic­tory at US PGA

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JIM TUCKER EVIN PRIEST

JASON Day’s good vibes for the US PGA Cham­pi­onship will mean noth­ing un­less he can buck this year’s trend of hor­ror rounds scar­ring his big­gest tour­na­ments.

In­con­sis­tency has been a curse for the for­mer world No. 1, who senses his game has rounded a cor­ner in time for tee off tonight ( 10.35pm Qld time) at Quail Hol­low Club in North Carolina.

Be­ing a con­tender for the Masters and Bri­tish Open was de­railed early by an er­ratic round while he never got hot at the US Open, where he missed the cut af­ter shoot­ing 79- 75.

His way­ward driv­ing is still a big part of the prob­lem. He ranks a lowly 179th for driv­ing ac­cu­racy on the PGA Tour but his length will be a big as­set if he straight­ens it out here.

There are four par fives be­tween holes five and 15 at Quail Hol­low where ea­gle and birdie op­por­tu­ni­ties can ig­nite a great round.

Day broke through for his first ma­jor at the 2015 PGA Cham­pi­onship at Whistling Straits from a fine 68- 67 launch. He started 68- 65 last year to fin­ish sec­ond. What he’d give for ei­ther of those elec­tric lift- offs this week.

“I’ve played re­ally well over the past few years,” Day said of click­ing at the PGA.

“For the most part, I feel the PGA cour­ses are where you can at­tack but you have to re­spect at the same time and that suits my style of golf. If I can find more suc­cess with hit­ting fair­ways, there’s a good chance I can win this week.”

Noted bombers Rory McIl- roy ( twice), JB Holmes and Rickie Fowler have all savoured tour­na­ment suc­cess at Quail Hol­low and the course does favour the long hit­ters.

Favourite McIl­roy, who once shot 61 at Quail Hol­low, is up­front: “There’s just cer­tain cour­ses that you can just see your­self shoot­ing a score on.

“I guess, it’s al­ways been a mod­ern player’s golf course where if you can drive it a long way, there’s an ad­van­tage.”

The hype has all been around McIl­roy’s stel­lar record at Quail Hol­low and Jor­dan’s Spi­eth’s quest for the fi­nal leg of golf’s grand slam of ma­jors at just 24.

Only two such pow­er­ful sto­ry­lines would turn world No. 1 Dustin John­son into bit­part billing, even though his length and rekin­dled touch sug­gest he’ll be right in this.

As ever, Spi­eth has the right mind­set not to get ob­sessed by the goal or the noise around him.

“Get­ting three legs of it is much harder than get­ting the last leg, I think,” Spi­eth said.

“I be­lieve that I’ll do it some day, so if it hap­pens … then fan­tas­tic. And if it doesn’t, then it’s not go­ing to be a big- time bum­mer be­cause I know I have plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

McIl­roy was de­lighted with the shake- up to the golf sched­ule which will move the PGA Cham­pi­onship from Au­gust to May from 2019 and re­po­si­tion The Play­ers Cham­pi­onship to March.

“From the play­ers’ per­spec­tive, to now have a re­ally big tour­na­ment ev­ery month from March and the FedExCup, most likely from the end of Au­gust, just has a bet­ter flow to it,” McIl­roy said. QUAIL HOL­LOW CLUB, NORTH CAROLINA TELE­VI­SION: Fox Sports 3 ( Th- Fri 3- 11am, Sun- Mon 4- 11am) 2016 cham­pion: AUSSIES: Jason Day above), Adam Scott, Marc Leish­man, Cam Smith, Stu­art Deane, Scott Hend, Rod Pam­pling BET­TING ( UBET) $ 8.50 Rory McIl­roy, $ 10 Jor­dan Spi­eth , $ 13 Hideki Mat­suyama, $ 14 Dustin John­son, $ 17 Rickie Fowler, 26 Jason Day. Oth­ers: $ 41 Adam Scott, 51 Marc Leish­man. KEY ROUND 1 TEE TIMES ( AEST) ) 10.25pm:p : Jor­dan Spi­eth,p , Ser­giog Gar­cia, , Brooks Koepka. . 10: 35pm:p : Jason Day, Dustin John­son, Hen­rik Sten­son. 3: 05am ( Fri): Adam Scott,, Luke Don­ald, , Webb Simp­son. 3.35am ( Fri): ): Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIl­roy

Jimmy Walker ( US) ( p p . $ $

Wayde van Niek­erk.

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