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Day shoots sizzling 63 to seize PGA Wells Fargo lead

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Australia’s Jason Day, chasing his first US PGA title in four years, fired a seven-under par 63 to seize the lead after Thursday’s opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship.

The 34-year-old Aussie carded eight birdies against a lone bogey to top the leaderboard by one stroke over American Joel Dahmen at TPC Potomac at Avenel in suburban Washington.

“I feel like things are progressing nicely,” Day said. “I have to just put my head down and keep going.”

A third-place pack on 65 included English rookies Aaron Rai and Callum Tarren, who matched their lowest PGA rounds, France’s Paul Barjon and Americans Matthew Wolff and Denny McCarthy.

The course is hosting a PGA event for the first time since 2018 as a one-off because Quail Hollow, the regular site in Charlotte for the Wells Fargo, is hosting this year’s Presidents Cup in September.

Jason Day hits off the 11th tee. PHOTO: AP

World number 127 Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner, seeks his 12th US PGA title and his first since the 2018 Wells Fargo, having stayed healthy lately after years of nagging back issues.

“It’s actually very encouraging,” Day said. “Typically if I play well then people ask me how my back is. That’s probably not something you want to always be constantly talking about.”

“So I’ve done a lot of work. I’ve been very diligent and disciplined in my approach to staying healthy. I get hiccups every now and then but for the most part, touch wood, I’ve been really good.”

Day credited creative coaching approaches, saying, “at some point, you have to get out of the technical aspect and go more creative”.

But he also admits that when it comes to matching his major-winning from seven years ago, “I’m a long way away from being that confident in myself in regards to my game.”

Day opened with back-to-back birdies, birdied from about five feet at the fifth and 10th holes and rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-three 12th to grab a share of the lead.