Saturday, July 02, 2016

Jason Day claims halfway lead at WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

Jason Day was forced to dig deep on the second day of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational as workmanlike one-under 69 was enough to earn him the outright lead.
Day was one of only 11 players to break 70 in tough, blustery conditions at Firestone Country Club in Ohio as two late birdies lifted him two clear of the field, but he carelessly dropped a shot at the last to close on four under at the halfway stage.
The Australian's closest challenger heading into the weekend is David Lingmerth, while Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth are among just nine players to be under the card after 36 holes.
Day holed from 25 feet for his first birdie of the day at the short third before grinding out a series of battling pars, including clutch saves from 12 feet at both the seventh and eighth holes as he turned in 34.
But his putting let him down on the 10th when he missed a three-footer for par, although he steadied the ship over the next five holes before converting a precise wedge to five feet for birdie at the 16th.
The world No 1 picked up another shot at the next with a well-judged putt from the front fringe, but he tugged his approach to the final green, knocked his birdie putt six feet past the target and missed the return.
Despite his blemish at the last, Day retained the lead ahead of Lingmerth after the Swede had matched the leader's opening 67, storming to the turn in 31 with four birdies and no bogeys.
Lingmerth holed putts from 20 feet or more at the second, eighth and ninth while he also pitched in from the greenside rough at the short fifth and, after offsetting a bogey at the 11th with another long-range birdie at 13, he paid the price for missing the fairway at the last and carded his second bogey of the back-nine.
First-round leader William McGirt, who opened with a sensational 64, looked to be cruising to the halfway lead when he birdied the second to get to seven under and maintained his advantage with a run of six straight pars.
But he made his first bogey of the tournament after a wild drive at the ninth, and he dropped further shots at the 13th and 16th before rounding off an untidy inward half with a double-bogey six as it took him four blows to find the green.
McGirt shares third with Emiliano Grillo (71) and US Open runner-up Scott Piercy (69), while Scott also got to two under when he drained a huge 50-foot birdie putt on the 17th green only to get into trouble off the tee at 18 and make his third bogey of the round in his 68.
Spieth rolled in an early birdie putt at the second and remained on three under as he parred the next 10 holes before a poor approach to the 13th cost him a shot, and he also ran up a six at the 16th before parring in to return a 71.
Rickie Fowler's erratic form returned on the back nine as he dropped three shots over the last six holes to slip to one over with a 73, while Masters champions Charl Schwartzel and Bubba Watson are also just five shots off the lead heading into the weekend.

Dustin Johnson also struggled with the conditions as the US Open champion mixed three birdies with six bogeys, including three in four holes on the front nine, dropping him to two over par.
Justin Rose plummeted down the leaderboard after he bogeyed three of the first four holes and failed to make a single birdie in his 76, while defending champion Shane Lowry is three shots further behind on eight over after a 72 which featured four birdies, four bogeys and just one par on the inward half.



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