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Day ready to end drought where it began

May 18, 2023May 18, 2023

04 May 2023 | Professional golf |

by Tony Webeck

He was ranked No.7 in the world, was a recent major champion and had won on tour already that year. Not even Jason Day could imagine that winning the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship would mark the start of a five-year winless drought.

Day returns to one of his favourite stops on the PGA TOUR this week buoyed by a run of good form that has taken him from 112 to No.34 in the Official World Golf Ranking yet rocked by a recent bout of vertigo.A mild case flared up during his match with world No.1 Scottie Scheffler at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas and then was made worse by the stress of the final day at The Masters.Three weeks on he is confident that he has that under control as the 35-year-old seeks to cap his resurgence with a long-awaited win at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.A 12-time winner on tour and a former world No.1 himself, Day conceded that the thought of not winning for the next five years when he triumphed at Quail Hollow in 2018 would have been alarming."Probably questioned what I was doing. You know, what happened in those five years to cause me not to win," Day reflected."It would be interesting because I was coming off the back end of 2015 and ‘16 and then two more events in 2018."I need to get back into the winner's circle, I know that. I feel that my game is starting to round into some really good form where I know that I can win more consistently, it's just a matter of putting myself into contention a little bit more."To be honest, I’ve got past the point of thinking about winning and more of the point of just trying to go through the correct process every single day. At some point it's going to yield more confidence and better play."When that happens, it's going to happen a lot, which would be nice."In six career starts at Quail Hollow, Day has finished top-25 on five occasions, including a tie for ninth at the 2017 US PGA Championship.It's why, with six top-10s and 11 top-25s in 14 starts this season to sit 30th on the FedEx Cup, that Day believes he is in the perfect place to end the drought."I thoroughly enjoy the way that the course layout is. Not only on top of that, but the way that the grass is and the sand and everything as well, it's just I feel like it sets up well for my game," said Day, one of four Aussies in the field this week and drawn with Rory McIlroy and reigning US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick the first two days."It's not an overly long golf course, but I think the playing surface is what I like the most. It's very similar to what I have at home in Ohio."I typically tend to like these bigger, larger, more pitch on the greens where you actually have to have a lot of imagination, you have to kind of position yourself around the golf course and if you have a good short game and you can match that up with some good hitting for the week, then typically that gives you better results than when you’re just trying to survive sometimes."Obviously this is a major-style golf course because we had the PGA here not too long ago and with the amount of people that come here as well, it just feels bigger overall."That's typically why I like playing here."Team Australia – Minjee Lee, Hannah Green, Steph Kyriacou and Sarah Kemp – are hoping to defy their No.7 seed and take out the returning International Crown at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.Drawn to play the powerhouse South Korea team in Round 1, Lee and Kyriacou will take on Hye-Jin Choi and In Gee Chun with Green and Kemp to face off against Hyo Joo Kim and Jin Young Ko.There are seven Aussies in the field for the Asian Tour's GS Caltex Maekyung Open in Korea and Queenslander Aaron Pike is making his first start on the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica at the Kia Open in Ecuador.Round 1 tee times AESTPGA TOURWells Fargo ChampionshipQuail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina9.34pm* Jason Day, Matt Fitzpatrick, Rory McIlroy9.56pm Cam Davis, Jim Herman, Francesco Molinari10.51pm* Harrison Endycott, Aaron Rai, Austin Eckroat3.16am Adam Scott, Sam Burns, Shane LowryDefending champion: Max HomaPast Aussie winners: Jason Day (2018)TV times: Live 9.30pm-8am Thursday, Friday on Fox Sports 503; Live 9.45pm-4am Saturday on Fox Sports 505; Live 3am-8am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503.LPGA TourHanwha LIFEPLUS International CrownTPC Harding Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDay 15.15am Minjee Lee/Steph Kyriacou vs Hye-Jin Choi/In Gee Chun (KOR)5.30am Hannah Green/Sarah Kemp vs Hyo Joo Kim/Jin Young Ko (KOR)Defending champion: South Korea (2018)Past Aussie winners: NilTV times: Live 8am-11am Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503.DP World TourDS Automobiles Italian OpenMarco Simone GC, Rome, Italy3.50pm Jason Scrivener, Jeff Winther, Fabrizio Zanotti5.10pm* Daniel Hiller (NZ), Alexander Levy, Sebastian Garcia RodriguezDefending champion: Robert MacIntyrePast Aussie winners: Greg Norman (1988), Craig Parry (1991)TV times: Live 9pm-2am Thursday, Friday on Fox Sports 507; Live 10.17pm-2am Saturday; Live 9.30pm-2am Sunday on Fox Sports 503.Asian TourThe 42nd GS Caltex Maekyung OpenNamseoul Country Club, Korea8.03am Wonjoon Lee, Sungmin Cho, Dongeun Kim8.58am Terry Pilkadaris, Heungchol Joo, Heemin Chang9.31am* Todd Sinnott, Innchoon Hwang, Jeonghyeob Hyun12.30pm Scott Hend, Junseok Lee, Taehoon Kim1.25pm Kevin Yuan, Richard T. Lee, Taehoon Ok1.36pm Zach Murray, Hongtaek Kim, Minjun KimDefending champion: Bio KimPast Aussie winners: Mike Clayton (1984)TV times: Live 2pm-6pm Thursday, Friday on Fox Sports 503; Live 1pm-5pm Saturday on Fox Sports 506; Live 1pm-3pm Sunday on Fox Sports 503; Live 3pm-5pm Sunday on Fox Sports 506.PGA TOUR ChampionsMitsubishi Electric ClassicTPC Sugarloaf, Duluth, GeorgiaAussies in the field: Stuart Appleby, Richard Green, David McKenzie, Rod Pampling, John SendenDefending champion: Steve FleschPast Aussie winners: NilChallenge TourUAE ChallengeSaadiyat Beach Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, UAE12.55pm Hayden Hopewell, Niklas Regner, Steven Tiley1.15pm Maverick Antcliff, Toby Tree, Oliver Farr1.05pm* Jarryd Felton, Daniel O’Loughlin, Kristoffer Reitan6.05pm Jordan Zunic, Lucas Vacarisas, Tom MurrayDefending champion: Inaugural eventPast Aussie winners: NilEpson TourGarden City Charity Classic at Buffalo DunesBuffalo Dunes Golf Course, Garden City, KansasAustralasians in the field: Gabriela Ruffels, Robyn Choi, Amelia Garvey (NZ), Cassie Porter, Emily MaharDefending champion: Gabriella ThenPast Aussie winners: NilPGA TOUR LatinoamericaKia OpenQuito Tenis y Golf Club, Quito, Ecuador10.50pm Aaron Pike, Max Sekulic, Willy Pumarol10.50pm* Charlie Hillier (NZ), Aaron Terrazas, Jaime Lopez Rivarola3.10am Harry Hillier (NZ), Barrett Kelpin, Kaylor Steger3.30am* Denzel Ieremia (NZ), Declan Kenny, David PastoreDefending champion: Manav ShahPast Aussie winners: Nil

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Round 1 tee times AEST PGA TOUR Jason Day Cam Davis Harrison Endycott Adam Scott LPGA Tour Minjee Lee/Steph Kyriacou Hannah Green/Sarah Kemp DP World Tour Jason Scrivener Daniel Hiller (NZ) Asian Tour Wonjoon Lee Terry Pilkadaris Todd Sinnott Scott Hend Kevin Yuan Zach Murray PGA TOUR Champions Challenge Tour Hayden Hopewell Maverick Antcliff Jarryd Felton Jordan Zunic Epson Tour PGA TOUR Latinoamerica Aaron Pike Charlie Hillier (NZ) Harry Hillier (NZ Denzel Ieremia (NZ)