Jason Day’s bout with vertigo took a positive turn in the final round of the U.S. Open. The fight for his first major championship, however, spun in the wrong direction just before the turn Sunday at Chambers Bay.
UNIVERSITY PLACE — Jason Day’s bout with vertigo took a positive turn in the final round of the U.S. Open. The fight for his first major championship, however, spun in the wrong direction just before the turn Sunday at Chambers Bay.
Day hit one of his better shots of the final round on the par-3 ninth hole, knocking his tee shot to 4 feet. On that very same green two days earlier, Day had suddenly collapsed, overcome in his sporadic struggle with vertigo. Now he had a chance to knock in a birdie putt and pull within one shot of the lead.
Instead, Day missed the 4-footer and a chance to build momentum heading into the back nine. He would go on to bogey No. 10 and carded a double-bogey 6 on No. 13, all but taking him out of contention.
He shot a 4-over 74 on Sunday and finished in a tie for ninth at even-par 280. In five U.S. Opens, Day has four top-10 finishes, including two as a runner-up.
“Not bad, considering,” Day said in quotes released by the USGA.
Dr. Vernon Williams, the director of the Kerlan-Jobe Center for Sports Neurology in Los Angeles, said most people with vertigo often suffer from symptoms for days.
“It can be very debilitating,” he said. “It can be very difficult for people to be active, let alone do what he’s doing during an episode. What he’s doing is very impressive, to say the least.”
Day had been taking medication for the vertigo after Friday’s episode. And before the final round, Day told Fox Sports’ Greg Norman that he felt better than he did Saturday, when he was in obvious discomfort while playing through dizziness and fatigue. He shot a 2-under 68 anyway in a sensational round to move into a four-way tie for the lead.
Day appeared more vibrant. But he still moved cautiously around the course, careful not to shift his head side to side quickly. At one point, while picking up a ball-marker early in the final round of the U.S. Open, he kneeled in a way that called to mind Grandpa picking up a dropped remote control.
“After 12,” Day said, “I felt much better. I’m just glad that I got it in on the weekend.”
Day, playing in the final group with Dustin Johnson, drilled a 44-footer for birdie on the par-4 16th hole, but gave it right back with a bogey 4 on No. 17. He had his worst putting day of the tournament — averaging 1.94 putts per hole Sunday, up from 1.61 on Friday; the field average was 1.81 on Sunday.
“I think I hit 13 greens and just didn’t capitalize at all on the (putts) that I had,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, because I felt like I gave myself enough opportunities. Couple of putts (on) 11 and 12 go in and it’s a different story. … If you don’t hole those, it doesn’t go your way.”