Day poses with a trophy and now looks for another
AKRON, Ohio (AP) Jason Day had a one-shot lead at Firestone and already was posing with the trophy.
Just not the Bridgestone Invitational trophy.
The Cleveland Cavaliers had their gold NBA Finals trophy on display at various parts of the golf course on Friday, and Day couldn't resist getting a picture. The Australian to makes his home outside Columbus loves the Cavs, and he was seen courtside at a game last year. He was sitting next to his wife, Ellie, who suffered a mild concussion when she was body slammed by LeBron James when he chased after a loose ball.
''Ellie took a photo with me,'' Day said, ''and LeBron James didn't come and tackle us. So that was a neat thing.''
It's also neat to see his name atop the leaderboard, which is getting to be familiar for the world's No. 1 player. Already a three-time winner this year, Day made a pair of late birdies for a 1-under 69 and had a one-shot lead over David Lingmerth.
The Cavs finally gave the city a title after 52 long years. The Cleveland Indians won their franchise-record 14th straight on Friday. Day is an Ohio resident, so maybe he can be part of the state's winning ways.
''If we could just pick up the Browns, that would be nice,'' Day said.
Day still has two days to go, and with only nine players remaining under par at Firestone, there's still a long way to go.
BE LIKE TIGER: Day drops so many references to Tiger Woods, particularly the occasional text messages they share, that he didn't realize until later that their names were mentioned together in footnotes Friday. Day was at 4-under 136, matching the highest 36-hole score to lead at this World Golf Championship. The other player was Woods in 2005, and he went on to win.
Day also talks about getting the lead and wanting to expand it. Woods' eight victories at Firestone include seven-shot, eight-shot and 11-shot wins.
Day doesn't want to get too far ahead of himself, and he'll take a victory by any margin. But the idea of a 10-shot lead sounded appealing.
''I'd be skipping down the fairways, hopefully,'' Day said with a smile. ''But I don't think that's the case this week.''
CLEVELAND CONNECTION: Day wasn't the only player with an Ohio connection.
Lingmerth matched the low score of the second round with a 3-under 67 (K.T. Kim also shot 67) and put him in the final group. The obvious connection is that Lingmerth won the Memorial for this first PGA Tour victory last year.
The more obscure connection is his uncle.
Goran Lingmerth was the placekicker for the Cleveland Browns in 1987.
THE CHASERS: Williams McGirt was among three players who were two shots behind, and it was hard work. McGirt was 10 shots worse than his opening round of 64, and his second round wasn't that awful except for pesky wind that made it tougher than usual to keep the tee shots in the fairways.
''Trying to figure out the wind was impossible,'' McGirt said. ''It was a lot of down off the left with a touch of in off the right. I mean, who knows?''
When he reached the 18th, he about gave up. Two shots in the rough. Another into a bunker. A double bogey.
His work was not through. Not long after signing his card, McGirt was selected for drug testing. At least that was indoors.
SPIETH SPEEDS UP: One noticeable change about Jordan Spieth was that he gets about the business of hitting a shot much quicker than earlier this year.
That was by design.
Spieth is aware of whispers in the crowd and commentary on the television about his pace of play. He spoke to his swing coach, who suggested he was better off just stepping into a shot and hitting it instead of having drawn-out conversations with his caddie.
Spieth shot a 71 and was three shots behind, but he is working on getting faster.
''The quicker part actually helps me because then I just get up there and fire away,'' he said. ''The more I can do that, actually I think the better off - kind of gun slinging mentality, just to go up and hit the way I always have played.''
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED: No one in the last eight years had made an eagle on the monstrous par-5 16th hole. Justin Thomas changed that with a drive that was estimated at three times his body weight. Thomas caught the slope perfectly and hit it 414 yards (he's slightly heavier than 138 pounds, but not by much). Thomas then hit 5-iron left of the green and chipped in for eagle.
''I can't hit another drive that hard,'' Thomas said.
It led to a 69, and like Spieth, Kevin Kisner and Adam Scott, he was only three behind.