Jason Day has stormed up the boards to be just one off Rory McIlroy’s lead at the PGA Championship.
Jason Day says he is not afraid to win and is ready to revel in the underdog tag after surging into second place behind world No.1 Rory McIlroy at the PGA Championship.
Day posted a sublime six-under 65 in round two at Valhalla Golf Club, the best score of the day in wet and soggy conditions, to move just one shot behind the three-time major winner at the halfway point of the seasons final major.
The Queenslander joined American veteran Jim Furyk (68) at eight-under par, setting up a Saturday final group showdown with McIlroy (67) who leads at nine-under.
Americans Ryan Palmer (70) and Rickie Fowler (66) plus Mikko Ilonen (68) of Finland share fourth at seven-under while Phil Mickelson (67) also lurks at six-under with Bernd Wiesberger (68).
Northern Ireland’s McIlroy has continued his stellar form over the last month after winning the British Open and World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.
But with three runner-ups, a third and a fourth place finish already on his major championship resume, Day says he’s ready to finally breakthrough.
“I have learned not to be scared about winning,” Day said.
“Obviously it’s hard to win. Some people can handle it, some people can’t.
“Sometimes you feel like you want to run away and sometimes you feel a little bit better where you can go on and fight.
“I’ve just got to go out there and just embrace being uncomfortable again, and just really play my own game and not really think about anyone else.
“It’s going to be tough but that’s what you have to do. That’s the process that you have to go through to hopefully hold the trophy at the end on Sunday.”
While full of confidence in his play, Day was quick to put the pressure on McIlroy, who is expected to be the first man to win back-to-back majors since Padraig Harrington in 2008.
In typical Queenslander fashion Day says it is McIlroy who needs to deal with the burden of expectation.
“I’m clearly not the favourite with how Rory is playing,” Day said.
“He looks confident. He’s hitting the ball longer and straighter than pretty much everyone in the field.
“It’s going to be tough to beat him, he could run away with things again, so I’m going to hopefully try and keep pace.
“I’m just happy to be close to the lead coming into the weekend. I’m excited.
“You can’t not be excited to be in or around the lead in a major championship.
I’ve been close a lot of times. I just have to keep knocking on the door and either hopefully it falls my way or I just knock the door down and take it.”
Matt Jones posted an even par round of 71 to stay three-under, extending his stay at Valhalla into the weekend, as did Geoff Ogilvy (71) at two-under.
Adam Scott managed a final hole birdie to join Ogilvy at two-under, needing a huge Saturday to get back in the mix.
Marc Leishman fought back from a triple bogey on the back nine and finished birdie, eagle to make the cut at even par.
Club pro Stuart Deane’s dreams of making the cut were dashed after he finished at four-over but he did well to shoot 71 in round two.
Steven Bowditch joined Deane at four-over and John Senden (+7) also missed out on the weekend as did Tiger Woods (+6), just the fourth missed cut for the 14-time major winner since turning professional.