Day stays patient for one-stroke WGC lead

Jason Day teeing off on the 17th, which he birdied for a two-shot lead at the Bridgestone Invitational. But he gave a shot back at the final hole.
Jason Day teeing off on the 17th, which he birdied for a two-shot lead at the Bridgestone Invitational. But he gave a shot back at the final hole. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

AKRON (Ohio) • World No. 1 Jason Day birdied two of the last three holes to seize a one-stroke lead over David Lingmerth after Friday's second round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.

The Australian, preparing for the British Open in two weeks and readying to defend his first Major title in the PGA Championship at the end of the month, fired a one-under 69 to stand on four-under 136 after 36 holes at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

"One of those days when you really just had to stay patient," Day said.

"It's really difficult to make birdies out there. I was able to get a couple coming in. The greens are starting to get firm and fast."

Day's total matched the highest leading score ever at the halfway mark of the event and the scoring average of 72.2 is the second-highest in tournament history.

Sweden's Lingmerth (67) was second on 137, with Argentina's Emiliano Grillo (71) and Americans Scott Piercy (69) and William McGirt (74) on 138.

Australia's Adam Scott (68) joined world No. 2 Jordan Spieth (71) and fellow Americans Kevin Kisner (70) and Justin Thomas (69) on 139.

Day sank a 25-foot birdie putt at the par-four third hole and made 12-foot par saves at seven and eight.

"Holing those keeps momentum going, keeps you patient," he said.

He opened the back nine with a bogey, three-putting from 16 feet. But he took the lead late with a five-foot birdie putt at the par-five 16th and dropped a 16-footer for birdie from the fringe of the 17th green for a two-stroke edge.

A stumble on No. 18 trimmed the lead to a single shot, Day missing the green with his approach and errant on a six-foot par putt.

Lingmerth made an astonishing putting run on the front nine, sinking birdie putts of 22 feet at the par- five second, 60 feet at the par-three fifth, 18 feet at the par-four eighth and 26 feet at the par-four ninth.

But he found a bunker at the 11th and missed a 15-foot par putt. He answered that with a 24-foot birdie putt at No. 13 only to falter at the finish, finding rough off the tee and coming up short of the green on his approach on the way to a bogey at the 18th hole.

"I was scrambling really good and made a couple of nice putts," Lingmerth said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL

Day 4: Singtel TV Ch115 & StarHub Ch209, tomorrow, midnight

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 03, 2016, with the headline 'Day stays patient for one-stroke WGC lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe