Jason Day came up two shots shy of sudden death and ended up solo third at the Masters.
By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Quite simply, the pressure got to Jason Day.
No way around it.
One minute he’s leading the Masters, two bogeys later, he’s watching countryman Adam Scott head into a playoff with Angel Cabrera and eventually become the first Australian to win the Masters.
Day was pulling for him all the way in the playoff.
“I know that he's come so close so many times in Majors and he really does deserve it," Day said during the sudden death session. “He's worked very, very hard and he's had a great career. Right now I know there's a playoff going on and I'm really praying that he pulls through."
Scott did. And, at the rate Day is going, he might not be too far behind him.
Day, who is making himself at home in majors, birdied the 15th hole to take the sole lead at 9 under, but it simply didn’t last.
The 25-year-old Australian had put himself in position with birdies at Nos. 13, 14 and 15, but bogeyed the 16th and 17th holes to eventually miss the Scott-Cabrera playoff by two shots.
“Birdieing 13, 14 and 15 was really nice, and unfortunately bogeying 16 and 17 was obviously not what I wanted to do," Day said. “You know, it was really tough. Obviously I think pressure got to me a little bit, and unfortunately I bogeyed those."
He said he hit a lot of shots at the back left pin, but at No. 16 he was just a bit off.
“I just rotated the hands a little bit too much and kind of shut it down, and it went a little long," he said. “I was hoping that the putt was going to be a little closer than what it was, and unfortunately I hit a terrible third putt ‑‑ or second putt -- there to bogey the hole."
And No. 17? All he had to do was get over the bunker, but ...
“I hit a great drive and hit a really nice 8‑iron at the pin," he said. “It was dead at it, and it only had to go a couple feet, and it would have been over that bunker and maybe 15, 20 feet and would have had an opportunity to obviously make a birdie there.”
Day now has three top-three finishes at majors. In 2011, he and Scott tied for second at the Masters when Charl Schwartzel birdied the last four holes to win the Green Jacket. He also finished second to Rory McIlroy at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional.
“I love this tournament regardless of where I finish today," Day said. “It's obviously an honor to come this week and play and play against the best players in the world and obviously have a shot at winning my first major and being the first Australian to win the Masters.
“It's a little disappointing, but there's a lot of experience that I can take into next year and hopefully I can wear one of those Green Jackets soon."