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Three years and 364 days since his last victory, Jason Day is obsessed with honing his new swing and improving his results, even if he never gets back to No.1 in the world.
There wasn't much room for improvement on Thursday as Day shot a seven-under 63 to take the first-round lead at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Joel Dahmen was a shot back on what could be the best day for scoring at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, with rain, wind and unseasonably cool temperatures in the forecast through to Sunday.
"Obviously, we've got some weather coming in, so I feel like we're going to go into grind mode over the next few days, which I typically like," Day said. "It's going to be difficult."
The 34-year-old has been working with instructor Chris Como on a swing that will protect his chronically balky back, and says it feels solid with every club except the driver.
His renewed dedication and relative good health are encouraging signs from a player who won eight times in a 15-month span in 2015-16, including the PGA Championship and the Players Championship.
"I think about the golf swing in the morning, I think about the golf swing during the day and I think about the golf swing at night," Day said.
"There's been conversations at 12 at night with Chris just because I have an idea in my head and a certain sensation and a feel."
Day's last win came in this tournament at Quail Hollow. The Wells Fargo moved to the Maryland suburbs of Washington this year because its usual venue is hosting the Presidents Cup in September.
The International team at that event would surely welcome a resurgent Day, who made five of his eight birdies from inside 10 feet on Thursday. The Australian took the lead with a chip-in on the par-4 15th hole.
"The thing that's different between now and when I was No.1 in the world, even though the technique might not have been as crisp as it is right now, I had all the confidence in the world, especially on the greens. So that's always the goal," Day said.
Matthew Wolff, local favourite Denny McCarthy and PGA Tour rookies Aaron Rai, Callum Tarren and Paul Barjon are two shots back.
Rory McIlroy, the top-ranked player in the field at No.7, had an up-and-down 67.
Dahmen enjoyed his quick surge to the top of the leaderboard.
"I like seeing my name up there. It's something that, you know, that's what we work for, right? To have a little bit of pressure in the first round I think is great," Dahmen said.
McIlroy's only big mistake was a tee shot that started too far left and drew into the water on the par-4 fourth, his 13th of the day.
A penalty drop and a sloppy chip led to double bogey, but he rebounded with birdies on the next two holes.
Among those tied with McIlroy in 17th is Australian Cam Davis.
The Sydneysider had four birdies to go with a lone bogey on the par-five second, with compatriot Marc Leishman a further shot back.