Jason Day look­ing for big pay­day and the top spot

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

Jason Day’s good form means the Aus­tralian looks to be on course for end­ing the year as num­ber one.

The num­ber-three ranked 27-year-old is cur­rently fight­ing for the first spot with North­ern Ire­land’s Rory McIl­roy and Amer­i­can Jor­dan Spi­eth, placed first and sec­ond, re­spec­tively.

Not much was heard about Day’s many son­ear-and-yet-so-far ex­ploits on cour­ses over past sea­sons, as he bat­tled with ill­nesses and in­juries – un­til he won the PGA Cham­pi­onship for his maiden ma­jor three weeks ago, that is.

Last Sun­day, he raised his pro­file once more by win­ning The Bar­clays, in which he posted a six-shot win at Plain­field Coun­try Club in New Jersey.

Day’s im­pres­sive form has raised ques­tions from golf con­nois­seurs about whether he’s up to the task of sur­pass­ing McIl­roy and Spi­eth.

Since the year started, the bat­tle for the leader­board has ap­peared to be a two-horse race. But Day has mounted a late charge for the fin­ish line.

McIl­roy re­claimed the num­ber one berth when the points to­tals were re­cal­cu­lated this week fol­low­ing Spi­eth’s two-week reign at the helm. Spi­eth missed the cut at The Bar­clays to hand the lead back to McIl­roy, who en­joys a points cush­ion. Points over a two-year pe­riod are col­lected for the rank­ings.

Day’s win on Sun­day sent him to first place in the FedExCup play-off stand­ings, where Spi­eth is placed sec­ond.

Day is poised to up­stage McIl­roy and Spi­eth if his hunger and de­ter­mi­na­tion on the fair­ways is any­thing to go by.

He said on his Twit­ter ac­count this week: “I never thought I’d have the op­por­tu­nity, math­e­mat­i­cally, to get to num­ber one. It’s been a goal of mine. Right now, I just can’t fo­cus on that ... The only way I can con­trol it is through play­ing good golf.”

Day, so poor as a kid that he shopped at a store where he stuffed as much used cloth­ing as he could into a bag for five Aus­tralian dol­lars, is try­ing not to think about the po­ten­tial of a $10 mil­lion (R136.5 mil­lion) bonus for win­ning the FedExCup. That’s still four weeks away.

Tiger Woods has placed an em­bar­rass­ing 266th and be­come an also-ran.

With the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge at Sun City, North West, just around the cor­ner, or­gan­is­ers of the event are yearn­ing to have Day grace the an­nual De­cem­ber show­down in Mzansi.

The tour­na­ment’s di­rec­tor, Alastair Roper, said: “We would have loved to see him be­ing part of the chal­lenge, but see­ing that there are so many events tak­ing place in his coun­try, Aus­tralia, at that time, he won’t agree to come here. But we’ll keep try­ing to twist his arm to come.”

PHOTO: AP PHOTO / MEL EVANS

CON­TENDER Jason Day of Aus­tralia hits a tee shot dur­ing the Bar­clays tour­na­ment at Plain­field Coun­try Club last Sun­day

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