Queenslander Jason Day has unveiled a new career goal after continuing his love affair with the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Starting the final round within three shots of the lead, Day made a bright start, narrowly missing out on an eagle at the par-5 second hole and then adding a second birdie from six feet at the par-4 ninth.
A bogey at 12 stalled Day’s momentum but further birdies at the 14th and an up-and-down from 60 metres at the picturesque 18th earned Day a tie for seventh, his first top-10 since the Houston Open last November.
It marks the eighth top-10 of Day’s career at Pebble Beach and incredibly is his worst finish at the event since 2016 when he was tied for 11th. (Day was tied for 21st at the 2019 US Open at Pebble Beach.)
With a bag full of equipment and a return to his trusty TaylorMade Red Spider putter, Day’s primary focus is patience as he and new coach Chris Como restructure a swing that will place less stress on his troublesome back.
Now 33 years of age, it was not long ago that Day playing until he turned 40 seemed an ambitious target but now that he is finally pain free he has set a new timeline to achieve all of his career goals.
“I feel like I’ve kind of set myself a goal where I want to play to 50 now because I feel good with my body,” said Day, who recorded four sub-70 rounds across Pebble and Spyglass Hill this week.
“I was hoping I was going to get to 35. The way that I’ve been feeling lately, the way that my body is feeling, the way that I’m moving, I’m moving a lot better, the stuff that I’m trying to work on my swing is helping my back out as well.
“When I have an injured back I’m in the worst mood ever. And I feel very positive and I feel like things are moving in the right direction for the first time in a long time.
“I know that I’m 33 now and I’ve got a lot of years left as long as I want it in my head.
“It is difficult to try and want, to want it perfect straight away, but you just got to just chip away at it because if you go full bore things get really tough.”
While he admittedly struggled with his iron play at stages during the week, it was the return of Day’s short-game superiority that lifted him into the top 10.
He was 47th for the week in greens in regulation but was third in scrambling (83.33 per cent), fifth in strokes gained: around the green and 12th in strokes gained: putting.
“There’s been a lot of change for me, especially over the last two months. Pretty much a whole new bag and I’m just trying to get used to that,” said Day, who shot three-under 69 today to lead the Aussie contingent.
“I feel good about my set, it’s just the putter that was kind of just a little bit off. But overall I feel like it’s starting to roll a lot better, starting to look a little bit better in my hands.
“I feel a little bit more confident as I play each and every round, so I just got to keep working at it.”
A four-under 68 in the final round helped to continue Cameron Davis’s strong run of results as he squeezed inside the top-15 while Cameron Percy moved inside the FedEx Cup top 100 after being in contention early in the week and finishing in a tie for 21st.
There were encouraging signs for another Aussie veteran too with John Senden’s tie for 39th his best result since he was top-five at the 2018 Australian Open.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California
T7 Jason Day 69-69-68-69—275 $US228,930
T14 Cameron Davis 74-67-69-68—278 $146,250
T21 Cameron Percy 67-70-73-70—280 $81,822
T30 Tim Wilkinson 67-74-69-72—282 $49,920
T34 Matt Jones 67-72-73-71—283 $40,638
T39 John Senden 70-69-72-73—284 $30,030
MC Aaron Baddeley 70-74—144
MC Rhein Gibson 76-71—147
MC Rod Pampling 73-75—148
MC Min Woo Lee 76-73—149
MC Greg Chalmers 72-83—155