HILTON HEAD ISLAND (AP) – Jason Day is back at the top in a bid for his third PGA Tour title in a month. Coming off a disappointing Masters, the top-ranked Day shot a 2-under 69 on Friday at the RBC Heritage to share the second-round lead with Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman.
Chappell and Hoffman shot 68s for the second straight day to match Day at 6-under 136..
Luke Donald, tied for the first-round lead after a 66, was a stroke back along with Russell Knox and Patton Kizzire. Donald had a 71. Knox shot a 65, the best round of the week. Kizzire had a 68.
Past tournament champion Matt Kuchar topped the group at 4 under after a 71.
Day has won two of the past three times he s entered, starting with a one-shot victory over Chappell a month ago in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Day followed that with a victory at the WCG-Dell Match Play and was a strong choice to slip on his first green jacket last week at Augusta National. Instead, Day tied for 10th and was never truly part of the drama in Jordan Spieth s late collapse and Danny Willett s triumph.
Now, Day is fighting off the fatigue and finding success again at Harbour Town Golf Links.
I felt like I was kind of punch drunk a little bit, he said of Thursday s start. But came out today a lot more alert and on top of it.
That s bad news for the rest of the field because Day has shown there aren t many who can match him when he s playing like this.
I may be a little bit mentally fatigued, but it s not an excuse, he said. I need to get out there and hit the shots and focus.
Day hit the shots he needed at the most crucial times.
Starting on No. 10 a shot behind leaders Donald and Branden Grace, Day could not get going in the chilly, damp conditions. He kick-started the round with a birdie on the wind-swept, lighthouse 18th, rolling in a 10-footer.
Birdies on the second and third moved him on top. When he fell a stroke behind Chappell with a bogey on the par-5 fifth – Day hit his drive out of bounds – he recovered with a birdie on No. 6.
Day felt the weight of the past few weeks of winning golf on the fifth green as he lined up the 4-foot putt needed to limit the damage from his bad drive. That s when he channeled the mindset he s had since last summer when he won the PGA Championship.
Moments like that where you get to a breaking point, where you go, OK, I m starting to lose focus now. Because I was playing great, but it went out of bounds. I can t think about it. I ve just got to keep pushing on.
Chappell s pushing on, too.
He has earned more than $1.4 million in 11 events this year, the bulk from two runner-up finishes. Chappell s best showing in his nine other tournaments? A tie for 26th at the Northern Trust Open.
My game didn t go anywhere, Chappell said. I m still on form and really excited to be here and really excited about where things are at.
Hoffman, who held the 54-hole lead here in 2013, had a tying birdie on the difficult par-4 eighth hole, then scrambled for par from the pine straw when his drive on No. 9 landed near the merchandise tent.
Once you get in the lead, you can t let up, you ve got to keep making birdies, Hoffman said. That s what Tiger did so well during the early 2000s and that s what I m going to try and do on the weekend.