[PHOTO: Getty Images]
A philosophical Jason Day says he’s looking at the second half of his career with optimism, even after the weather gods robbed him of a golden chance to chase down Wyndham Clark at a weather-shortened AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Day owned eight top-10 results at the iconic celebrity pro-am on the Monterey Peninsula in northern California before last week and he secured a ninth yesterday when tournament officials shortened the event to 54 holes.
His tie for sixth was bittersweet given Day never got the chance to finally win the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. PGA Tour rules state a tournament must be shortened if half the field is unable to finish 72 holes on a Monday. It’s the only reason the PGA Tour can go to a Tuesday finish. Given extreme weather on Monday – Monterey County instituted a ‘shelter in place’ order – half the 80-player field had not completed four rounds.
“It’s a [$US20 million] signature event and you want to finish the tournament; it would be disappointing to play 54 holes,” Day said before the decision was made. “If I was Wyndham, I would be probably [have been] hoping [for 54 holes].”
Day continued his remarkable comeback from injuries and a form slump that bottomed out with him ranked No.175 in the world in late 2022. After his second top 10 this year – he tied 10th at The Sentry in Hawaii at the start of January – the Queenslander is back to 18th. That renaissance included a 13th PGA Tour win for the former world No.1 at last year’s Byron Nelson event.
The 36-year-old was asked at Pebble Beach if he thinks about being closer to the end of his career than the beginning of it. A fitting question, given the brigade of young guns coming through, such as 20-year-old Nick Dunlap, who won as a college amateur at the American Express tournament last month before turning pro.
“Yeah, all the time,” he said. “That’s a really good question. I still feel like I’m in my 20s but I’m obviously past my mid-30s now. There was a time [in 2017] where I was like [thinking] once I get to 40 I was thinking about retiring. At the time I was dealing with some injuries and I wasn’t feeling that great. To be in the second half of my career, like it’s surprising because this is my 17th season on the tour and all the guys, it’s like I’m getting older and the guys that come out every single year, the new faces are getting younger.
“I think watching these young guys play knowing that they’re hitting it further and they’re full of confidence and they’re big and strong. I feel like I’ve got the experience on my side to be able to handle certain pressure situations. I just have to make sure that I do everything I possibly can to make sure that I’m healthy, I don’t lose any speed and I mentally want to. If I can do those few things, I should have a decent second half of my career.”
Day was the best of the Australians, with Cam Davis and Adam Scott sharing 20th.
PGA Tour qualifying school champion and graduate, Sydney’s Harrison Endycott, was not eligible for the signature event at Pebble Beach and instead played the Bahrain Championship on the DP World Tour. The former Korn Ferry Tour winner tied for 16th alongside fellow Australian David Micheluzzi. The Australasian order of merit winner last year shot a closing 68 and earned a third top-20 finish on the DP World Tour.
Meanwhile, on LIV Golf, Cameron Smith opened the season at Mayakoba in Mexico with a share of eighth at seven-under, five shots out of a playoff between Joaquin Niemann and Sergio Garcia. Australian Open champion Niemann emerged victorious after four holes. Lucas Herbert enjoyed a T-21 finish in his first hit-out on the LIV circuit having joined Smith’s team, Ripper GC.
Results – via Australian Golf Media
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California (Event reduced to 54 holes due to inclement weather)
1 Wyndham Clark 72-67-60—199 $US3.6 million
T-6 Jason Day 69-71-63—203 $642,500
T-20 Cam Davis 70-69-68—207 $210,333
T-20 Adam Scott 72-67-68—207 $210,333
DP World Tour
Bahrain Championship: Royal Golf Club, Kingdom of Bahrain
1 Dylan Fritelli 67-68-69-71—275 €390,779.85
T-16 Harrison Endycott 69-68-73-73—283 €28,832.33
T-16 David Micheluzzi 70-74-71-68—283 €28,832.33
T-43 Haydn Barron 71-73-76-67—287 €12,183.14
T-56 Jason Scrivener 71-73-74-72—290 €7,011.05
Korn Ferry Tour
The Panama Championship Club de Golf de Panama, Panama City, Panama
1 Isaiah Salinda 70-65-68-65—268 $US180,000
T-52 Curtis Luck 73-65-70-77—285 $4,180
LIV Golf Mayakoba El Camaleón Mayakoba Golf Course, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
1 Joaquin Niemann 59-72-70—201 $US4 million
T-8 Cameron Smith 69-70-67—206 $457,500
T-21 Lucas Herbert 70-70-71—211 $215,000
T-25 Matt Jones 73-73-66—212 $190,000
T-25 Marc Leishman 68-74-70—212 $190,000
SDC Open Zebula Golf Estate & Spa, Limpopo, South Africa
1 Rhys Enoch 66-66-66-66—264 €51,008.26
T-52 Hayden Hopewell 70-68-71-71—280 €1,705.64