Jason Day back in contention at Quail Hollow entering Round 3

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Day back in contention at Quail Hollow entering Round 3

PGA Tour

Jason Day back in contention at Quail Hollow entering Round 3

CHARLOTTE –  Just about every big name in golf is at the Wells Fargo Championship, and just about every one of them is well behind leader Peter Malnati.

Jason Day is the lone exception.

The former World No. 1 shot 4-under 71 Friday to vault into contention at Quail Hollow. Day is T-2 with former NCAA individual champion Aaron Wise at 6 under for the tournament, one shot behind Malnati.

Malnati carded a 4-under 68 to get to 7 under on another tough afternoon for the field in Charlotte. 18-hole leader John Peterson was on the wrong end of it all Friday, falling back to even par and a T-27 slot after shooting 6-over 77 with six bogeys and one double bogey.

Day can sympathize. He was in contention through 36 holes at the PGA Championship last August but shot 6-over 77 in Round 3, including a disastrous quadruple bogey 8 on the par-4 18th.

Day holed out from a greenside bunker at the par-5 10th to get to 6 under Friday and played the final eight holes in even par with one bogey and one birdie.

Malnati is coming off a missed cut at last week’s Zurich Classic that might end up being the best thing that’s happened to him this season. He was playing with partner Billy Hurley, one of his best friends on Tour. Hurley was a mentor of sorts for Malnati when he first turned pro and helped him out. Because of that, Malnati wanted to play well in New Orleans. Wanted it too much.

“I realized when we got done playing lousy for two days that I was just so into the results, that’s all I could think about,” Malnati said. “It created a lot of anxiety, a lot of pressure, just a really heavy weight to play with. What I always was so good at before anyone had ever heard of me, before I played on the PGA Tour, was just playing and trying to do the very best I could. Being in my process and going through my plan, following it, and then being at peace with whatever happened. And there really hasn’t been a lot of peace for me lately because I just want the results so badly.”

That was a big-time epiphany for Malnati, one that has led to two consecutive rounds under par at an extremely difficult golf course. So he wrote something on his glove to remind him of that, something he’ll likely need to refer to again throughout the weekend now that his little experiment is actually working.

“I came into the week and I have the word ‘process’ written on my glove,” Malnati said. “That’s kind of my focus. Just focus on the process and be at peace with the results. It’s been a lot of fun.”

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