PGA Cham­pi­onship turns into a track meet be­fore dark

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ja­son Day re­mem­bers hus­tling to fin­ish rounds of golf in the dark as a kid. He just never thought he would be do­ing it on the 18th hole of a major cham­pi­onship.

But the sec­ond round of the rain­de­layed PGA Cham­pi­onship turned into a track meet as day­light turned to dusk with Day and play­ing part­ners Dustin John­son and Hen­rik Sten­son rac­ing to their balls and play­ing “ready golf” so they could com­plete their round - and sleep in.

They man­aged to do it, even though they could barely see any­thing as they were com­ing up the 18th fair­way. “Ob­vi­ously to be able to fin­ish and not have to wake up at 5:30 in the morn­ing (to fin­ish the round) is big,” Day said.

Day has John­son to thank for that - and he did just that with a big hug on the 18th fair­way. With the sun set­ting fast, the three­some knew they had to get some­one to tee off on No. 18 be­fore the horn sounded. As long as one player tees off be­fore the horn, the rest of the play­ers in that group are al­lowed to fin­ish by rule.

John­son told the group, “I’ll do it.” He made his par putt on the 17th hole and then sprinted to the 18th tee and promptly knocked his tee shot down the mid­dle. They could legally fin­ish the round which was held up for 1 hour, 43 min­utes by rain. Then it be­came a bat­tle against dark­ness.

The group, which played so slow all day and had been as much as a hole be­hind ev­ery­one else, hus­tled up the fair­way and knocked their balls onto the green. While TV broad­caster Jim Nance com­mented that he was un­able to see their white golf balls from his seat high above the green, the three­some was able to fin­ish with the help of a gi­ant il­lu­mi­nated score­board to the right of the 18th green.

“It was like play­ing un­der the lights which was kind of nice,” Day said. “I looked at it on the screen and it was like we were play­ing in day­light. It was re­ally odd.” Some­how, all three play­ers made par on the 18th, one of the most dif­fi­cult clos­ing holes in all of golf. “We all wanted to fin­ish,” John­son said. “Walk­ing on No. 17 we knew we were get­ting re­ally close. I told them I will go putt and tee off and we will fin­ish from there. None of us wanted to wake up at 5 and get ready and play one hole and then sit around and wait to tee off again. If you can get done it is def­i­nitely worth it to do it.”

John­son ad­mit­ted it wasn’t easy gath­er­ing him­self af­ter run­ning to his ball. “I had to catch my breath for a sec­ond a few times,” he said. Day said look­ing back he’s glad they made the call to com­plete the round, but ad­mit­ted, “think­ing about it, if I went bo­gey, bo­gey I would be very dev­as­tated right now.”

A sim­i­lar sce­nario was tak­ing place on the ninth hole with a group that in­cluded tour­na­ment con­tender Louis Oosthuizen.—AP

CHARLOTTE: Ja­son Day of Aus­tralia, warms up on the 11th hole dur­ing the sec­ond round of the PGA Cham­pi­onship golf tour­na­ment at the Quail Hol­low Club Fri­day, in Charlotte. —

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