Date: April 15, 2013
Author: Martin Blake / Golf Australia

Jason lives to fight another day

Jason Day had a hand on the green jacket, but was denied by one of his countrymen. Marc Leishman completed the greatest week of his golfing life. And Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters. It was some week for Australians at Augusta National. Of the four who played (John Senden finished 35th) the player with regrets will be Jason Day, the 25-year-old Queenslander who led through two rounds, for much of the third round, and again surged to the top of the leaderboard on the back nine today. Day had holed a trap shot for eagle at the par-five second hole today, and then joined Angel Cabera in the lead with a birdie from 2.5 metres on the par-four 14th hole. With Cabrera finding a hazard on the 13th, and Day making a birdie at the par-five 15th, Day had the lead to himself. Standing on the 16th tee, the famous par-three with water down the left, Day had a two-shot lead in the Masters. And then it all unravelled. His tee shot, perhaps fuelled by too much adrenaline, flew the flag and went long, into the wet, sticky rough. Choosing to putt rather than chip, as Tiger Woods had done so famously from a similar spot in the 2005 Masters, Day came up short and missed his par putt, sliding right. Then at the 17th he changed clubs and from the centre of the fairway, was well short with his approach, finding a trap and leaving himself a near-impossible up-and-down. Another bogey saw him concede the lead and he could not find a way back, although his brave birdie putt at the last burned the hole. Day signed for a 70 and finished third, another near-miss to go with his tie for second on debut at Augusta National in 2011. He was philosophical, and honest. “The pressure got to me a little bit,&apos&apos he said later. Surely he will be back contending for a green jacket. Leishman, 29, held up wonderfully for most of the final day in carding an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for fourth with Woods, the world No. 1. Dozens of club members at Warrnambool Golf Club in south-western Victoria watched Channel 10s coverage as he remained on the leaderboard, staying within touching distance until his five-iron second shot at the par-five 15th hole dunked into the water hazard in front of the green. Still it is by far his best result in a major, and it gives him an automatic invitation back to Augusta next year. His coach Denis McDade told Golf Australia last week that he believed Leishman had the talent to be in the top echelon of players in the world; now it is evident what McDade was talking about.