Jason Day into lead at U.S. Open despite lingering vertigo symptoms

ByBob Harig ESPN logo
Sunday, June 21, 2015

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. -- Dealing with the lingering symptoms of vertigo and at times struggling to keep his balance, Jason Day somehow shot a 2-under-par 68 on Saturday at the U.S. Open to join a four-way tie for the lead after the third round.

Day, who is ranked 10th in the world, collapsed on the final hole of the second round Friday, and it was unclear whether he would be able to play Saturday.

"I didn't feel that great coming out early and then felt like -- I felt pretty groggy on the front nine just from the drugs that I had in my system, then kind of flushed that out on the back nine," said Day, who birdied three of his last four holes. "But then it kind of came back. The vertigo came back a little bit on the 13th tee box, and then felt nauseous all day. I started shaking on 16 tee box and then just tried to get it in, really. Just wanted to get it in."

Day, 27, won the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year but had missed the cut in his previous two starts. He has suffered from vertigo symptoms previously, including at last year's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he had to withdraw. He was able to make only a few brief comments after his round.

"He played unbelievable," said Kevin Kisner, Day's playing partner. "He didn't feel good at all. I told him I'd try to help him in any way I could. I asked him if he wanted me to pick his ball up out of the hole. He was struggling.

"But there's that old saying, beware the sick golfer, and that kind of rang true today."

Day started slowly, with bogeys on two of his first four holes. But then the Australian settled down. He birdied the 10th, bogeyed the 11th and made another birdie at the 12th. When he birdied the 18th hole, he had played the back nine in 4-under-par 31, and he ended up tied for the lead with Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Branden Grace.

Day's longtime caddie, Col Swatton, called it "the best round I've ever seen" -- and he has seen all of Day's.

"Last year I didn't play the round after I had vertigo, and this one was worse," Day said. "I think the goal was just to go through today and see how it goes."

On several occasions, Day appeared to be in distress, not wanting to make any sudden moves. Swatton said Day considered withdrawing several times on the back nine.

Ellie Day, Jason's wife, endured a stressful few hours watching her husband grind through his round.

"He didn't say much," Kisner said. "He was feeling terrible. But he impressed me. He backed off a few times and had to regroup. I told him I'd be happy to get the ball out of the cup for him.

"But when you're making birdies, I don't care how bad you feel, you want to pick it out of the hole."

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