Australian Jason Day soon to have his day at a major


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ARDMORE , Pa. -- Phil Mickelson had a record sixth second-place finish Sunday in the U.S. Open when he finished two shots behind winner Justin Rose. But he isn't the only player who has made a habit of being a repeat runner-up.

Jason Day of Australia is following the same route, but at a much younger age and with plenty of time ahead of him.

Day, 25, finished tied for second with Mickelson at the 113th U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club -- giving him three second-place finishes and one third-place finish in 10 major championship appearances.

"As long as I keep knocking on the door, I think I'll win a major here soon," Day said.

In 2011, Day finished second in his first Masters appearance and second in his first appearance in the U.S. Open. This year he nearly duplicated the feat when he followed a third-place finish at the Augusta National Golf Club with a runner-up performance at Merion.

Day actually had the lead with three holes remaining at the Masters, but he bogeyed two of the final three holes to miss the playoff with Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera by one shot.

Day's performances in major championship aren't surprising because he is young, fearless and generates tremendous power with his swing. But they are when you consider that he has just one PGA Tour victory to his credit.

"I think I just got to keep putting myself in good position to win," Day said. "And I feel that my game is in a really good spot right now. I'm doing the right things, I'm doing the little things that count. I've been close so many times now in majors, especially at a young age, which is nice."

That doesn't mean Day isn't disappointed with some of his finishes.

At the Masters, it appeared he was on his way to victory when he made three consecutive birdies, the final one at No. 15, to take a two-shot lead with three holes remaining. But Day bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17 and failed to do what Scott and Cabrera each did at the final hole of regulation -- make a birdie.

At Merion, Day was tied for the lead with Rose until Mickelson holed a wedge shot for eagle at No. 10 to momentarily regain the top spot. While Rose answered with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 12 and 13, Day bogeyed two of the final five holes and never made another birdie after No. 10.

"I think I have to stay positive within myself," Day said. "But I think I got to look at it both ways and say what did I do great this week and what do I need to improve. That's the only way we can move, is get better like that."

Day has done some good things in the final round of major championships to indicate he is ready to win. At Augusta, he holed a bunker shot for eagle at No. 2 in the final round, then ran off three consecutive birdies coming out of Amen Corner to take a two-shot lead.

Sunday, after hitting his second shot in Cobbs Creek at No. 11, Day dropped and pitched his fourth shot in the hole to save par. But, when he had a chance to stay within a shot of Rose at the final hole, Day missed a 4-foot par putt at No. 18 that, at the time, appeared more damaging than it really was.

"You've got to understand that Scotty is in his young 30s and same with Rosie," Day said, referring to the past two major winners. "I'm still 25. I've got plenty of majors to play in and hopefully I can keep doing the same as I'm doing and hopefully win one soon."

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Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com and Twitter @gerrydulac. First Published June 18, 2013 4:00 AM


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