Friday, February 16, 2018
Golf

Back pain no issue for Jason Day on Match Play Day 2

AUSTIN, Texas — Jason Day was willing to pull out of the World Golf Championships Match Play and rest for the Masters if his back was still hurting Thursday.

He knew he would be fine "when I hit my first tee shot onto the green," he said, smiling.

Day swung hard and, with the wind helping, hit his drive to 12 feet on the 381-yard opening hole and made the eagle putt. The rest of the day was a breeze, and he beat Thongchai Jaidee 5 and 3.

Fifteen matches went the distance at Austin Country Club on Day 2 of the event, and there was no shortage of surprises. Daniel Berger never finished against Phil Mickelson when his club hit a rock structure on the way down and he hurt his left wrist. Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler escaped with half points.

But Jordan Spieth had another stress-free day. He again built a big lead and lost only one hole in a 5-and-4 victory over Victor Dubuisson.

It all set the stage for today, when all but 16 players from the 64-man field leave town as round-robin play is completed. After the event's first two days, 22 players had been mathematically eliminated.

Day said his back pain stems from a bulging disc that flared up on No. 15 during his win Wednesday.

"If I didn't play (Thursday), I was going to pull out of the tournament totally," Day said. "I may as well get the rest and recovery and try to get ready for (the Masters in two weeks). … Fortunately for me, I played some good golf. There wasn't one shot where I felt it, which was good."

Rory McIlroy got through in a wild match with Smylie Kaufman in which they didn't halve a hole until No. 7. McIlroy won on the 17th hole.

Mickelson was all square on the last hole when Berger drove left next to a rock structure that forms the 10th tee box. Berger struck the rocks before his club reached the ball. He dropped the club, grabbed his left wrist and looked over to Mickelson to concede the match. Berger was among those eliminated.

Sergio Garcia was poised to win his second straight match until Ryan Moore knocked in a 25-foot putt from behind the 17th green to square the match and then hit wedge to a foot on the final hole for a 1-up victory. "Match play is just crazy," Moore said. "You just never know what's going to happen."

PGA: Rafael Compos shot 8-under 64 in front of his home fans to take the first-round lead in the Puerto Rico Open at Rio Grande. Compos, 27, is the first Puerto Rican to lead a tour event since the 1979 Tallahassee Open, when Chi Chi Rodriguez was tied for the 54-hole lead and went on to win his eighth and final title. George McNeill was a stroke back. Luke Donald (69) and Ian Poulter (71) are playing after failing to qualify for the Match Play. Poulter is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 67.

LPGA: Inbee Park, Brittany Lang, Ai Miyazato and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were atop the leaderboard at the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif, with a one-shot lead after shooting 5-under 67. Lydia Ko, Jane Park and Mi Jung Hur were 4 under. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot par 72.

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