- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 26, 2004

The first 15 holes of his round yesterday stopped short of an out-of-body experience for Glen Day.

He wasn’t merely an average pro golfer with a smattering of top-10 finishes and one tour win to his credit. For four hours, he hit searing drives, displayed a deft touch with his putter and surged up the leader board with the kind of authority that made fans and TV cameras stop and look.

At worst, the thinking went, Day would tie Charles Howell III’s course record from Thursday. At best, he would shoot a 59 — golf’s version of a no-hitter — and join David Duval, Chip Beck and Al Geiberger as the only players to do so.

But that was all before a two-hour rain delay forced Day to sit and stew in the clubhouse with the rest of the field. When he came back to his second shot on the seventh hole, the sky was overcast, the crowds had gone home and USA Network had cut to a rerun of “Walker, Texas Ranger” — about as riveting a television show as Day is a golfer.

Either the delay interrupted his flow, or for the first time this week the TPC at Avenel decided to bite back. Whatever happened, one thing is certain: After the rain stopped, Glen Day was back to being Glen Day. The Alotian, Ark., native found the bunker on two of his last three holes and wound up shooting a 62, one shot off Howell’s record.

“It was basically two different rounds,” Day said. “When we came back out, the wind was blowing enough that you had to think about it. It would take anybody out of their rhythm.”

Starting on the 10th hole, Day tied his previous low 18, shot in the first round of the 1994 St. Jude Classic.

He used to have the nickname “All” Day, a reference to the glacial pace of his play. But in this case, there’s no question he would have preferred to speed things up.

“For the first time in a while, I was really good mentally. I was playing shot-by-shot, thinking about my swing, and obviously that’s what you’re supposed to do,” he said. “By my scores this year, it’s pretty obvious I hadn’t been doing it. I was just happy I was in a good frame of mind.”

Day took only 18 putts in his first 15 holes and had drained a lob wedge from 84 yards on the par-5 sixth hole for an eagle when the sirens blew at 4:05 p.m. The field was iced until 6 p.m.

When play resumed, he hit out of the rough on the seventh hole into a bunker right of the green. Day gave the dozen people watching a final thrill when his third shot banged off the flagstick before settling less than a foot from the cup.

A fan yelled, “When you’re hot, you’re hot!” To which Day replied, “That’s right.”

But Day wasn’t hot anymore, and on the next hole he couldn’t escape trouble. His drive found the fairway, but he couldn’t decide which club to hit for his approach and wound up yanking a shot into the front right bunker. His chip landed about 20 feet short of the cup, and Day missed a par putt, ending any chance of a 59 or 60.

“I would have had to finish birdie-birdie [for a 59], which, sure it could happen,” Day said. “But as soon as I had the yardage on 8, it was kind of all over.”

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