You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Jason Day in the mix at Kapalua PGA event

AAP logoAAP 6/01/2017 Evin Priest

Jason Day is holding on to hope he can defy recent history and a cold putter to win the Tournament of Champions in Maui.

The world No.1 closed the gap on the leaderboard with a four-under-par 69 during the second round at Kapalua's Plantation course.

The 29-year-old sits five back of a two-way tie for the lead, held by Americans Justin Thomas and Ryan Moore at 12 under.

Day's playing partner Patrick Reed fired a blistering 65 to share third place at 11 under with first-round leader Jimmy Walker.

Since the 32-man winner's only tournament moved to Kapalua in 1999, only four golfers have overcome a deficit of four or more at the 36-hole mark to win.

Day will draw inspiration from compatriot Stuart Appleby (2005) and Spain's Sergio Garcia (2002) - both champions chased down seven shots over the weekend rounds.

But the Queenslander admits that can only happen if he can negotiate a misfiring putter after missing eight putts inside 12 feet over the first two days.

"I burned a lot of edges today. It all happens on the weekend. I should give (the deficit) a good run. I feel good about my game," Day said.

Day leads the Australian contingent at the US PGA Tour's first event for 2017, one ahead of veteran Rod Pampling at six under (tied 15th), while Greg Chalmers and Aaron Baddeley share 22nd at three under.

Day will take confidence from his 11-under 62 during the final round here in 2015.

"If we have good weather like this over the next two days, it could yield a lot of birdies out here," Day said.

After spending three months on the sidelines recovering from a disk complaint that prematurely ended his 2016 season, Day claims his lower back is feeling up for 72-hole tournaments.

"I feel good. Taking three months off is a long time, but I feel good with how my back is holding up."

Defending champion Jordan Spieth isn't as confident as Day about chasing down the leaders, with the world No.5 ruling himself out of the tournament with a five-under total.

"It will be difficult; just because we were in contention, and now pretty surely out of it.

"So it's a bummer not to really have a chance to win after two rounds."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon