NORTON, Mass. -- There's something about a golfer in the zone that keeps everyone on alert.
Not just the galleries or the prognosticators trying to predict what will happen on the PGA Tour in any given week.
But the players do notice it, too.
And right now the players are keeping an eye on Jason Day.
By far the hottest golfer on tour with a PGA Championship and a win at The Barclays in his last two starts, Day kept his presence felt at the top of another leaderboard yesterday at the Deutsche Bank Championship with a 3-under 68 in the first round at TPC Boston. The Australian sits 3 shots back of Brendon de Jonge.
"You beat Jason Day, you're going to finish top three," joked Ryan Palmer, who matched Day with a 3-under 68.
Day may be too humble to accept the fact he's the best player on tour at this very moment in this very stretch. Jordan Spieth was that guy for the majority of the season with wins at the Masters and the U.S. Open, but the 22-year-old phenom has come back to earth in the past two weeks after missing the cut at The Barclays and a 4-over 75 yesterday. Spieth is 10 shots off the pace.
Day is 77-under par in his last 21 rounds, and in his last six starts has three wins and hasn't finished outside the top 12. The clamoring before the tournament started was to have Day or Spieth or Rory McIlroy, who bogeyed his last two holes to end with a 1-under 70, challenging and setting the pace.
"I'm excited about it, but I can't think about that too much because I need to make sure that I stay focused on what I need to do to keep the flow going," Day said when being mentioned as one of the best golfers in the game.
"And right now the putts today, if they would have dropped, I would have shot a lot lower."
Day shot out in the morning with three straight birdies. When he wasn't knocking in putts, he was burning edges in a round that could have been a lot better than it ended up being.
At one point it was Day at the top with McIlroy in second until both had a little bit of a hiccup at the ninth green.
"I thought I could get to a 6 (under) at least," Day said after starting 3-under through three holes.
The birdie barrages that are seen so often at TPC Boston never really flourished. Luke Donald had six birdies in his 67, but he couldn't fully take advantage of the scoreable par 5s with pars at the second and 18th.
"It was just a consistent round," Donald said. "I got very fortunate at 13. I pulled my tee shot, hit some rocks, and it rebounded and landed in the gape and hit a 3-iron to 2 feet. But other than that, kept it pretty much in play."
De Jonge had seven birdies and one bogey on his round to finish with a 65. Donald, Colt Knost, Kevin Chappell, Ian Poulter, Matt Jones, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Charlie Hoffman are all 2 shots back at 4-under.
Many of the players, especially those in the morning wave, talked about the difficult wind and the tricky pin positions, making for a day that wasn't filled with red figures, meaning the golf course showed a little bit of bite in the opening round.
"It was the most challenging I've seen this golf course play, especially given that the greens were very receptive," said Phil Mickelson, who finished at 1-under 70. "The wind made it play very difficult."
This article was written by Tom Layman from Boston Herald and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.