There was nothing between Americans Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan as the WGC-Accenture Match Play final began in Tucson.
Defending champion Mahan – never behind in any of his five previous matches at this year’s event, in fact the last time he trailed was the first round last year – started par-par and was matched by his Ryder Cup team-mate.
Both players bogeyed the short third in brutally windy conditions at Dove Mountain.
When Mahan’s second and third shots came up short at the fourth the inevitable bogey did cost him the hole – and as a result he trailed for the first time in 169 holes at the event.
Mahan lost the fifth as well, and was in real trouble when a three-putt at the short sixth left him three down.
Day had looked exhausted all day after his heroics in beating Major Champions Bubba Watson and Graeme McDowell on Saturday, but produced a remarkable turnaround before the turn.
Pars at the seventh and ninth and a regulation birdie at the long eighth were enough to win all three, and as a result he was one up at the turn.