It’s considered an upset based on seeding for No. 32 Jason Day to make it to the quarterfinals. However, if I didn’t have him running into No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, I could see Day making a run to the semifinals or better.
He won this event in 2014 at Dove Mountain and again in 2016 at Austin Country Club. Surprisingly, Day hasn’t made it out of group play since 2016, but I attribute that more to injuries and a dip in his game more than inability in a match play setting.
Day’s revived his game in 2023. The former world No.1 has rattled off six straight top-20s, highlighted by a solo fifth at the WM Phoenix Open.
His last start was T-19th at the Players Championship.
Day hasn’t won since the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship. I see it tough for him to hold up to play well for five straight days this week, but he’s playing well enough to win his group.
That starts with getting past the group’s top man, No. 9 seed Collin Morikawa. Morikawa is playing well of late, too, and made it to the round of 16 last year.
That’ll be the biggest challenge. No. 44 Adam Svensson has won this season in the fall, but he’s making his tournament debut.
No. 51 Victor Perez won this year on the DP World Tour in Abu Dhabi but hasn’t finished top-10 in a PGA Tour event in two years.
I see Day squeaking by, perhaps at 2-1-0, to eventually fall to Scheffler in the quarterfinals.
A reason for Day’s success is his short game. He’s second on the PGA Tour this season in scrambling (70.29%) and bogey avoidance (10.48%).
He’s not the bomber he once was, but Day can still get it out there long enough to compete at most venues.
"“To be honest, I think it’s a great venue for a match play golf course,” Day was transcribed by ASAP Sports discussing Austin Country Club in 2018. “There’s drivable par-4s, some where you can make birdies…”"