Golf-For Jason Day, another major championship debut

Reuters

Thu, 16 Jun 01:07:00 2011

Australia's Jason Day will complete his set of major championship appearances at the U.S. Open this week and if his debuts at the other three are anything to go by, there could be fireworks at Congressional.

Day has taken giant steps forward in each of his major championship debuts.

He played his first major less than a year ago in the British Open at St Andrews after Greg Norman pulled out and he got his spot, finished tied for 60th.

At his first U.S. PGA Championship at Whistling Straits last year, he charged up the leaderboard on the final day before finishing tied for 10th, before a scintillating showing at Augusta National leaving many to wonder whether he can take yet another step and raise the trophy.

The 23-year-old Australian showed his immense promise at Augusta National with an eight-under 64 in the second round, the low score of the 2011 tournament and just one off the course record, and had a birdie-birdie finish in Sunday's final round to share runner-up honours.

Day, who won last year's Byron Nelson and was 21st on the U.S. money list, said it might be hard for him to carry over his success from the wide-open Augusta layout to a U.S. Open setup where heavy rough lines fairways and surrounds greens.

"Augusta is a totally different course to Congressional," Day told Reuters while taking a brief break from chipping practice at Congressional Country Club.

"Obviously the experience there was pretty great, to finish second and do what I did in the last round was fantastic.

"The mindset is a little different. Par is a really good score to have around here. It's more about survival and staying as patient as possible.

"I'm more of an aggressive player, so it's going to be a test for myself to see if I'm patient enough with myself."

The long-hitting Day has maintained his strong form since his Masters splash in April, adding a tie for ninth at the Heritage, a tie for sixth in the Players Championship and a fifth place at the Byron Nelson Championship.

"I just tried to work on a few things last week in my game," he explained about his preparation. "Hitting a few more drivers when I practiced, a few more longer irons and just worked really, really hard on my short game."

Day said he did not know what to expect when he tees off in Thursday's opening round with Briton Justin Rose and American J.J. Henry.

"It's hard because this is my first U.S. Open," he said. "I don't know what's going to win. I haven't had the experience to see what scores win around U.S. Opens.

"We don't know if four under is going to win, or eight under is going to win, or plus four is going to win. I'm just going to go out there and give every shot 100 percent."

Day said he has not sought out counsel from other players.

"For some reason, I've never really picked anyone's brain on anything. I've always got the enjoyment that when I've achieved something on the PGA Tour or in my golfing career it's self-achievement, and it makes me very happy that I achieved it by myself. So I haven't really asked anyone at all."

Despite feeling somewhat in the dark, Day said he was relaxed and welcomed the upcoming challenge.

"I'm not expecting anything. I'm just going to come into this event and whatever happens, happens. If I miss the cut, I miss the cut, if I go out and win, I win.

"I'm relaxed. Just looking forward to the challenge. It's going to be a tough test of golf."

 

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