JASON DAY battled dizzy spells at the very vertigo-unfriendly Chambers Bay Golf Course to surge to the joint lead after a memorable 2-under 68 in the third round of the 2015 US Open.
The 27 year old Aussie golfer collapsed on his final hole in the second round and was clearly still affected by what has been diagnosed as Benign Positional Vertigo, which causes a spinning sensation in the head and can bring on mild to intense dizziness.
Despite his difficulties, Day was one of the few to break par on Saturday and put in a round his long time caddie and coach Col Swanton said was the greatest round of golf he’d ever seen.
“That was superhuman effort,” Swatton said. “I told him they might make a movie about it someday.”
Day had five birdies on the back nine, including 17 and 18, to surge to 4-under and take the clubhouse lead. Each one was met with more and more generous and boisterous applause from a partisan local crowd aware of the difficulties he was under.
Day will tee off alongside Dustin Johnson (71) in the final group early Monday morning Australian time.
Masters champion Jordan Spieth (71) and South Africa’s Branden Grace (70) share the 4-under lead and tee off in the second last group.
Australian youngster Cameron Smith (69) has also had a remarkable US Open and at T5 will tee off alongside Louis Oosthuizen (66), the only player to better Day’s third round score.
Adam Scott (72) is at 3-over tied for 19th with John Senden (70) and 4-over alongside Rory McIlroy (70) and others.
After his round Day went straight to his nearby motor home to rest, later releasing a short statement saying: “Hopefully, I’ll get some rest and feel better for the final round. The U.S. Open is really important to me and I look forward to tomorrow.”
Swatton likened Day’s effort to Tiger Woods winning in 2008 on what was essentially a broken leg.
“He nearly quite three times … he’s such a gutsy bloke,” Swatton said.
“He was in trouble on the 4th going up the hill, and on the 7th going up again. He looked at me and said, `Oh man’.”
“I just said put one foot in front of the other, mate, and he gutted it out and it was really, really impressive.”
Both were buoyed by the reaction of the local crowds.
“That was pretty impressive. Almost every hole someone would yell out—they were just genuinely happy to see him out on the golf course and I think that spurred him on,” Swatton said. “And he didn’t want to let the fans down.
“It was a really cool reception … if tomorrow was anything like today, he’d almost feel as though he’s the favourite, even though he’s not American.”
Swatton has no doubt Day can win if he wakes up fit enough to take to the course.
“Of course he can win. To win a major healthy, is difficult enough, to win one not 100 per cent is even more difficult … but you’ve seen what he’s capable of.”
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