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2020 PGA: Jason Day turns back clock for share of lead

Jason Day 2020 PGA Championship 1st round
Jason Day grabs the early lead in the PGA Championship with a 5-under 65 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

Aussie shoots bogey-free 5-under 65 at TPC Harding Park to join American Brendon Todd atop leaderboard

Shortly after he won the 2015 PGA Championship, Jason Day ascended to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He led the world order in three stretches into early 2017, totaling 51 weeks, in a span during which he earned his place among the world’s elite golfers.

Day provided a glimpse of what seems like a long time ago, shooting a bogey-free 5-under 65 on Thursday at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco before American Brendon Todd matched the score at the 102nd PGA Championship (scores / tee times).

Nine players, including two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka and former major winners Zach Johnson, Martin Kaymer and Justin Rose, were tied for third at 66.

Day, 32, an Australian who makes his home in Westerville, Ohio, has won 12 times on the PGA Tour, including that lone major five years ago, but he has gone winless since May 6, 2018. During that time, he has slipped to No. 42 in the world ranking and rarely gets mentioned when the talk turns to the game’s top contenders each week.

Thursday in Northern California, Day found that old form.

Starting on the back nine at the Bay Area muni, he tapped in a 3-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole and proceeded to play a near-flawless round, capped with a 5½-foot birdie putt on his final hole, the par-3 ninth. He hit nine of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens.

And the best part of it all: He saw it coming.

“There was definitely a lot of momentum coming in off the previous finishes that I've had,” said Day, who tied for sixth last week at the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational. That followed two top results at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, where he is a member: a T-4 at the Memorial a T-7 a week earlier at the Workday Charity Open. “The game feels like it's coming around. I'm pleased with it.

“The momentum that I've had over the last three starts has kind of seeped into this week,” he said.

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