POTOMAC, Md. — On a wet Friday at TPC Potomac, opening-round leader Jason Day shot 3-under 67 to extend his advantage to three shots over Max Homa at the Wells Fargo Championship.
The ball did not travel well and several fairways were waterlogged, but the greens largely held their character as the tournament reached the 36-hole mark. According to the forecast, there’s more rain on the way.
“It’s nice to be able to get in at 10 under through two rounds, especially with what kind of weather we’ve got coming in on the weekend,” Day said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s nice to be back in the mix, nice to be leading. It’s still two more days left, so I can’t get too far ahead of myself.”
Day spoke at length Thursday about committing to a new swing with his coach Chris Como and how he would stay up until midnight thinking about how he can help his process.
There was already some momentum stemming from Day’s tied-for-10th-place finish with partner Jason Scrivener at the Zurich Classic last month, not to mention the Australian won this very event in 2018, albeit at its usual location at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.
Day’s Friday round got off to an inconsistent start as he was 1 over par on the day heading into the 18th hole, his ninth.
As he battled both his game and the elements, Day got rid of his hat and made the turn with a birdie. This run would only continue with birdies on both the second and third holes, before capping the round with a birdie on the par-4 eighth hole.
“It’s really hard to commit to a shot because you’re going in there and you’re doing it kind of a lot quicker than your normal pre-shot routine, so you have to force yourself to hit the shot and trust that,” said Day. “Some of the iron shots that went left today, just a little quick in the transition, didn’t kind of wait for it.
“I kind of worked it out and found my way on the back side.”
Day ranks first in the field in Stroked Gained: Approach the Green at 6.065, 13th in Strokes Gained: Putting at 2.983, and is tied for fifth with 43 putts.
Another past champion, 2019 winner Max Homa, finds himself in second place and has played his opening two rounds alongside Jason Day.
Homa’s highlight was an eagle on his opening hole. He would have to battle the elements, but his putter assisted him in piecing his round together as walked in one putt and pumped his fist on another roll.
“I thought I played awesome for two days,” Homa said. “I’ve hit the ball really well, I’ve hit my driver well, I’ve hit my irons great, I’ve made a ton of putts the last 27 holes. When I’ve been in trouble, I’ve kind of managed for the most part to get myself out of it.
“I’m proud of the start, for sure. The game feels really good.”
Joel Dahmen was in second place after round one and had his score at 9 under after holing out on the par-4 14th hole. Dahmen started his day on the back nine and was in the lead before Day caught fire, recording birdie on the 18th hole to turn his day around.
Dahmen, meanwhile, was penalized for a wayward drive on the same 18th hole and that carried over to his second nine, where he bogeyed the first and fourth, unable to get up and down from the greenside rough, and then a triple on the par-4 seventh hole continued a freefall that saw him dip all the way back to 1 under.
James Hahn is among a quartet at 6-under par and also was the lone golfer to record a bogey-free round Friday. Despite the inclement weather, Hahn felt comfortable, expressing after his round that he grew playing in similar conditions.
“This is kind of the reason why I left California, because of weather like this,” Hahn said. “It seemed like the year that I left, it was raining 100 days out of the year and so I would practice in this every day. I feel comfortable. It kind of brings me back to the good old days when I was young and carefree and just wanted to go out and play golf.”
Defending champion Rory McIlroy needed a seven-foot par putt to drop in order to make the cut on the number. He is one of 65 players to make the weekend. Not as fortunate was Francesco Molinari, the last PGA Tour winner at TPC Potomac, back in 2018.
Also among those missing the cut were Harry Higgs (+1), Marc Leishman (+3), Gary Woodland (+5), Webb Simpson (+5) and Patrick Reed (+7).
Due to expected inclement weather Saturday, tee times will be on split tees between 10:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.
WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP LEADERBOARD
- Jason Day -10
Max Homa -7
T3. James Hahn -6
T3. Kurt Kitayama -6
T3. Luke List -6
T3. Denny McCarthy -6
T7. Keegan Bradley -5
T7. Brian Harman -5
T7. Chad Ramey -5
T10. Matt Fitzpatrick -4
T10. Tyrrell Hatton -4
T10. Anirban Lahiri -4
T10. Rory Sabbatini -4