(Reuters) - Jason Day did not win the British Open, but says he had a calm feeling during the final round that he had never experienced the previous times he had been in contention at a major.
And Day has been in contention a lot, piling up six top-four finishes in the past five years.
He was close to tears when the birdie putt that would have vaulted him into the playoff came up short at St. Andrews in July, but victory six days later at the Canadian Open was a nice consolation prize.
Day is one of the favourites for the PGA Championship starting on Thursday at Whistling Straits, where he had his first strong major showing, finishing equal 10th in 2010.
“I felt different,” Day told reporters about the final round at St. Andrews. “And I don’t know what changed, but I felt a lot more calm. Everything was kind of slow paced.
“Everything felt like a Thursday, rather than a Sunday of a major championship. And with everything that happened that day, I mean I played phenomenal golf at the Open Championship. I had three bogeys and they were all in the second round.”
Day, 27, is still trying to get across the finish line in first place at a major, but he takes solace from his consistency in the biggest tournaments and trusts that it eventually will lead to the promised land.
“I think it’s good to be consistent, because every once in a while you can strike lightning in a bottle,” he said.
“And I don’t want to be that one hit wonder and just kind of go off in the distance. I want to be a dominant player,“ continued Day, adding he wanted to win not just one major but ”two, three, four, I don’t know how many.”
Day is part of a nine-man Australian contingent that also includes perennial major contender Adam Scott and British Open playoff loser Marc Leishman.
Scott led deep into the final round at St. Andrews, before playing the final five holes in five-over.
Other Australians of note include 21-year-old Cameron Smith, who tied for fourth at the U.S. Open, and Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champion.
Brothers Matt and Brett Jones are also in the field. Matt is a touring pro, while Brett is among the 20 club pros who qualified via the PGA of America Professional Championship.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine