Jason Day produced another dominant display of golf and is on track to be Australia’s youngest-ever world No.
1 after sizzling to a five-shot lead at the halfway mark of the BMW Championship.
While the 27-year-old failed in his bid for a historic 59 when he returned early to complete his opening round on Friday, he backed up a 10-under-61 with an eight-under-63 to tie the all-time US PGA Tour 36-hole scoring record at 18-under 124.
He finished off his second round at Conway Farms Golf Club in Illinois – the third of four playoff tournaments – with a 43-foot eagle putt, walking it in with confidence like his idol Tiger Woods had done so many times in his prime.
Day is shooting for a fourth win in six starts, and a fifth win this season, knowing that would take him to his career goal of becoming world No.1.
He is five clear of Americans Brendon Todd (63) and rookie Daniel Berger (64) at 13-under.
World No.2 Jordan Spieth, playing with Day, finished birdie-eagle to shoot 65-66 to be 11-under and tied fourth with Kevin Na (66).
Asked if he was heading towards Woods-like domination, Day kept his cool, knowing he still had 36 holes to go and is a long way shy of the 14-time major winner’s accomplishments.
“I hope (I’m on the way there). That would be nice. That would be great. But he’s won 79 times and I’ve only won six, so it’s hard to say I’ve been dominating,” Day said.
“But it’s something that I can shoot for, and that’s what I’m trying to do every day.
“Right now it seems to be working, which is good. I came in this morning, and obviously didn’t shoot 59 and I felt like everyone was disappointed in me.
“Usually it’s hard to back up a big round and shoot a low one again but fortunately for us, we had calmer conditions today.
“I feel like I’m in the zone. I feel very free. It’s good pressure, and I’m loving it. It’s a good position to be in. “
World Golf Ranking officials confirmed Day will take over the No.1 spot should he go on to win the tournament, regardless of what current No.1 Rory McIlroy and Spieth do.
He can actually make the jump to world’s best if he is second outright and McIlroy is outside the top four and Spieth outside the top 10.
McIlroy finished off a 68 before adding a 65 to be nine-under in a tie for ninth.
Should Day win the tournament he would beat out Greg Norman as Australia’s youngest-ever No.1, with the Shark being 31 when he started his reign.
It would be a remarkable surge, given just two-and-a-half months ago he was a distant world No.8, seven average ranking points behind McIlroy.
Steven Bowditch put up a second round 66 to move to six-under and help his chances of staying inside the top 30 of the season-long points race to get to the 30-man Tour Championship next week.
Matt Jones, who needs a good week to jump inside the top 30 for Atlanta, produced a stunning fightback.
Sitting five-over through 13 holes of his first round Jones battled back, playing his last 23 holes in nine-under to be four-under overall and still half a chance of moving on should he put up a low weekend.