Rare is it Jason Day shoots three-over and is relatively pleased but, after battling his swing throughout the opening round of the US Open, the Queenslander felt like a survivor.
Day’s usual crisp and high ball flight was missing at Pinehurst No.2 from the opening tee shot when he flailed a four-iron way right into a waste area and all but topped his second shot.
Despite the struggles, the 26-year-old two-time US Open runner-up rode his short game to a round of 73, certainly not good, but also not bad enough to be discounted from contention.
After the end of the morning wave Day was five shots off the clubhouse lead of two-under par.
“If I didn’t have my short game I would have been in the 80s somewhere,” he said.
“I’m glad I got up and down a lot and there’s still three days ahead of us.
“I was a little loose pretty much throughout the whole round. I just didn’t hit it as good as I needed but the short game was actually solid.
“I’m not too disappointed with how the round went considering how bad I hit it.”
Day bogeyed the opening two holes but was back level par after birdies on the fourth and fifth.
Then the misses started adding up.
He made clever par saves on six and seven but couldn’t do it on the eighth after missing the green.
Six fighting pars on the trot followed, including a couple from waste areas and another from the crowd before he left the ball well short of the 15th green and made bogey.
A brilliant drive down the 16th fairway seemed to have steadied the ship but his approach from the short stuff was a shocker, going well long and leading to another dropped shot.
“You have to have consistent ball flight and consistent distance control and I had none of those,” Day explained before heading to iron out the kinks on the range.
“It felt like my timing was out. When I was trying to hit high soft shots they were coming out low and left and going 20-30 yards longer than they should.
“I am definitely going to have to keep working hard and tighten the long game up a little bit but who knows, if you go out and shoot even par over the next three days, you might win the whole thing.
“That’s the great thing about US Opens you just have to keep surviving and put yourself in contention.”