By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MARANA, Ariz. -- Jason Day earned his way into the semifinals in a big way by taking down two major champions on Saturday.
After dispatching Bubba Watson with relative ease in the morning, Day had to dig deep in the afternoon when neither he nor Graeme McDowell had their best stuff.
The 2010 U.S. Open champion won the first hole with a conceded birdie and made another one at the third to go 2 up. When McDowell bogeyed the fourth and seventh holes, though, the match was square again.
Day took the lead for the first time with a birdie at the par-5 11th hole. McDowell then squared the match with a birdie at the 14th but Day answered with a 3-footer at the next to get back to 1 up.
Another see-saw spurt saw McDowell and Day trade wins with pars at Nos. 16 and 17. So Day took a 1-up lead to the 18th hole where he two-putted from 42 feet for the win and McDowell missed a 16-footer for birdie to extend the match.
"It was very stressful out there today," Day said. "I feel like my mind is going every which way right now. Just to play the way I did on the back nine was very, very special. The whole game today felt really, really nice, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.
"You know, myself and G Mac, we really didn't play our best, but you've just got to do enough. That's because you're just playing against a guy that's across the tee from you. I've got Matt Kuchar tomorrow, and I know he's very slow and steady, hits a lot of fairways and greens and can roll the rock when he can, and I'm looking forward to that."
SCORECARD STATS: Day made four birdies and two bogeys. McDowell made five birdies and four bogeys.
HOLES WON: Day won five holes. McDowell won four holes.
NEXT OPPONENT: Day plays Matt Kuchar, who beat Robert Garrigus 3 and 2 in the quarterfinals.