'I'm very excited' - Day enthused by opening round


Jason Day expressed excitement with his performance in round one of the US PGA Championship, after beginning his title defence with a two-under 68.

As playing partners Rory McIlroy (74) and Phil Mickelson (71) struggled to varying degrees at Baltusrol on Thursday, the latter at least finishing strongly following a dismal first nine, world number one Day offset a solitary bogey with three birdies in a solid display.

After reaching the clubhouse three strokes behind early leader Jimmy Walker, the Australian said: "I'm very excited about how I hit it. I hit a lot of good quality shots. [It] hasn't been like that lately.

"To be able to go out there and hit it exactly where I'm going and see the shot and what I need to do and actually execute it was exciting for me. Really positive stuff going into the next three rounds.

"[I've] got to do a little bit of putting, trying to straighten out a few of the little ones. Try to change that focus from standing over the ball and thinking about what am I doing, rather than get in there and try to hole the putt.

"For the most part, I feel pretty good about where my head is at and looking forward to the next three days."

Day's preparation for the year's final major was far from ideal. In addition to feeling under the weather after his two children picked up a sickness bug, he had to go to hospital with his wife, Ellie, after she suffered an allergic reaction to some seafood on Tuesday.

The reigning champion only played Baltusrol for the first time on Wednesday, but said: "if you practice Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, you could be pretty tired with how hot it was. It was in the mid to high 90s. You can get pretty drained pretty quickly.

"I'm glad I took Monday, Tuesday off, even though I'm a little bit under the weather. It was kind of a blessing really to come out yesterday, play 18 holes real quick and then get out of here."

Discussing the patience he showed on Thursday, Day added: "It's probably a little bit more conservative than I usually am.

"Any given week on the PGA Tour, there's usually a guy ... that gets to seven or eight under. I think with a major championship, you have got to be patient, take your opportunities when you can and work yourself up to the lead come Sunday.

"If you get off to a great start, great. If not, kind of chip away at it."