Jason Day and Lydia Ko shot 31 on the back nine in the tougher foursomes format, giving them a 6-under 66 for a two-shot lead in the Grant Thornton Invitational, the first mixed-team event since 1999.
More than posting five birdies on the back nine at Tiburon, Day and Ko managed to avoid mistakes that held so many other teams back.
They were at 20-under 144, two clear of Lucas Glover and Leona Maguire (69) and Tony Finau and Nelly Korda (70).
‘’I think the biggest thing in foursomes is to keep the ball in play,” Day said. “My personal goal was to just get it down the fairway, keep it in play. … Lydia, she’s been a solid rock for the team.” Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson put together a dynamic back nine of their own, highlighted by Thompson making a hole-in-one on the par-3 16th hole, the ball taking one hop and disappearing into the hole.
But they also had bogeys on two of the par 5s. Four birdies and Thompson’s ace gave them a 31 on the back for a 68, leaving them four shots behind with the Canadian team of Corey Conners and Brooke Henderson (69) and Nick Taylor and Angel Yin (70).
Sahith Theegala and Rose Zhang were tied with the Finau-Korda team until Zhang pulled her drive on the 11th hole, the ball bouncing off the cart path and into the hazard for a one-shot penalty. Finau missed a 10-foot putt and they made double bogey and never quite recovered.