It felt like I played 36 holes - Day reflects on difficult Masters start


Jason Day walked off the iconic Augusta course feeling like he had played 36 holes as the former world number one described the brutality of the opening round of the Masters.

Winds made life tough for golfers on the first day of the 81st edition of the Masters, with Day a perfect example of how relenting the conditions were in Georgia after carding a two-over-par 74 on Thursday.

Heading into the major tournament with limited preparation amid his mother's cancer battle having withdrawn from the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play, the Australian mixed two birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey to kick off his bid for a maiden Masters crown, having finished tied for second in 2011.

Day made it through the front nine with just a bogey at the third hole but things became more difficult following the turn, after double-bogeying the 11th and dropping the 17th, although the Australian managed to generate some momentum with back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th.

The 2015 US PGA Championship winner has his work cut out trying to climb the leaderboard but he knows he has to grind it out to stay in the hunt before the weekend.

"It was tough," Day told Channel Seven after his round. "I felt like I drove well off the tee. I didn't quite give myself the opportunities. It was very difficult to give yourself the opportunities.

"If you put yourself in the wrong positions, you're struggling to get up and down. The greens are pretty slick with how the conditions are.

"It felt like I played 36 holes. I'm just glad to be here."

Day, whose mother wished him luck before the start of the event after successfully undergoing lung cancer surgery, added: "It was flying pretty strong from the west. But you get in among the trees and it starts swirling and it's hard.

"You have to hit it on the right gust. You have to commit to the shot you're hitting. If you don't hit that shot, it's magnified by a hundred because it just goes off.

"You have to be spot on. You have to miss it correctly. If you don't, you make it a tough one for you."

Looked ahead to Friday and beyond, Day said: "The first few days are usually grinding. Saturday and Sunday are different beasts in themselves.

"Friday is more of the same. Same strength in the wind. A little warmer, which is good. You will hit the ball a little further.

"Saturday and Sunday is setting up to be great weekend golf weather. So just have to get through the next day."