Australia’s Jason Day, chasing his first US PGA title in four years, seized a three-stroke lead after Friday’s rain-soaked second round of the Wells Fargo Championship.
Day fired a three-under par 67 to stand on 10-under 130 for 36 holes as more than half an inch of rain fell Friday at TPC Potomac at Avenel with more rain predicted all weekend.
The 34-year-old Aussie made five birdies against two bogeys to finish three ahead of American Max Homa, who shot 66. Americans Luke List, Kurt Kitayama, Denny McCarthy and James Hahn shared third on 134.
“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.
“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.”
The suburban Washington course is hosting a PGA event for the first time since 2018 as a one-off because Quail Hollow, the regular Wells Fargo course in Charlotte, will host the Presidents Cup in September.
Day, ranked 127th, could win the title on the first Mother’s Day since his mother, Adenil Day, died of cancer in March at age 65.
“I lost a little bit of momentum with my mum passing away and all that stuff,” Day said. “Finally finding my footing again is nice.”
Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner who has been nagged for years by back issues, seeks his 12th US PGA title and his first since the 2018 Wells Fargo.
“All the work that I put in in the off-season, off weeks, it’s starting to show,” Day said. “I’m finding a lot of confidence in that swing.”
Back-nine starter Day sank a seven-foot birdie putt at the par-3 12th, a 10-foot birdie putt at 18, back-to-back birdies at the par-5 second and par-3 third and an 11-foot birdie putt at the par-4 eighth on the soggy layout.
“When you have conditions like this, it’s really hard to commit to a shot because you’re going in there and you’re doing it a lot quicker than your normal pre-shot routine,” Day said.
Four-time major winner and defending champion Rory McIlroy, who opened with a 67, fired a 73 to make the cut on the number at level par 140.
US 10th-hole starter Joel Dahmen, who briefly led after an eagle at the par-4 14th had five bogeys and a triple bogey in the last 10 holes to shoot 75 and was nine back on 139.
– PGA: Garcia clock error –
Spaniard Sergio Garcia was vindicated in complaining about a Thursday lost ball penalty after the PGA said Friday that a review found the three-minute clock to find his ball started too soon, while Garcia was trying to cross a creek to the area where the ball landed.
A statement said his ball was found within the correct time limit.
That didn’t erase the one-stroke penalty, however, and didn’t ease reactions to comments Garcia made in frustration that seemed to indicate he was planning to drop the PGA Tour for the rival LIV Golf circuit, which debuts next month in London.
“I can’t wait to leave this tour,” Garcia said Thursday. “Can’t wait to get out of here.
“Just a couple more weeks until I don’t have to deal with you any more.”
Garcia, who didn’t speak to reporters after either round, fired a 71 on Friday to stand on 138.