SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Only thunderstorms and 18 holes stand between Jason Day and his second major title.
Day shot a third round 67 to finish one shot behind leader Jimmy Walker after a rain-delayed third round pushed his tee time to 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning. A 74-foot birdie on the 6th hole got the Australian off and running, en route to a bogey-free round that included two more birdies at 9 and 18.
That birdie on 18 assisted in keeping the momentum alive for the defending champion entering his final round.
“I went on a stretch there for eight holes without a birdie, and I needed one to finish on to keep that momentum going to the fourth round,” Day said. “There were some that I left out there…there were like 15- to 20-footers that I’m kind of licking my chops and going, ‘I really feel good about this putt.’ And then kind of baffled me a little bit with the read.”
Weather warnings were posted Sunday at 10:47 a.m., though thunder and lightning held off all morning allowing the third round to be completed. Weather radars indicate a 40-60% chance of thunderstorms in the Springfield area for the rest of the day.
Despite waking up at 5 a.m. Sunday, there’s not much rest to be had between rounds for Day. He will have three hours and twenty minutes to shower, change, eat lunch and relax with family before attempting to play another 18 for the Wanamaker trophy. He plans to do his homework too, watching the final round unfold to nail down his strategy. On this, the PGA of America and Day agree: If they could crown a winner Sunday, they’d much rather do that.
“Hopefully, no delays,” Day said. “Because if we get delayed, then we have to come back tomorrow regardless, because we’re teeing off at 3:07. It would be really nice to get this tournament in.”
The 2015 PGA Champion had little to no prep at Baltusrol, having dealt with a bug caught from son Dash and a late night trip to the emergency room with wife Ellie on Wednesday night. That hasn’t seemed to phase Day. He’s put himself in position to become just the third back-to-back PGA Championship winner, and the first since Tiger Woods in 2006-07. And that would keep Day from being a one-hit major wonder.
“It would be really nice to get the second major under my belt, because I don’t want to just win one and have one through my career,” Day said. “I’ve put myself in the position. I’ve just got to be able to take those chances and hopefully capitalize on those opportunities that I give myself.”
And a little thunderstorm isn’t about to rain on this golfer’s parade.
“It’s a little unfortunate with the weather. But, you know, we’ve got to just take it as it is right now. Hopefully, I’m the last man standing.”