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Australian Day at the Masters

Updated: 2013-04-14 08:04
By Reuters in Augusta, Georgia ( China Daily)

Australian Day at the Masters

It is lucky for Jason Day that he has broad shoulders. After snatching the halfway lead at the Masters on Friday, the Australian knows he will have to carry the weight of his home nation.

Like all his countryman, Day does not need reminding that no Australian has ever won at Augusta National but the 25-year-old is hoping he can be the one to break the drought.

"It's all how you look at it. If you look at it as pressure, you're going to worry about it more," he told reporters after shooting a second-round 68 to lead the tournament by one shot at six under.

"If you look at it as a challenge and an opportunity to be the first and stay positive with it, it only motivates you to play well."

Day is playing at the Masters for only the third time but has already shown a distinct liking for Augusta National.

Two years ago, on his debut, he finished tied with his countryman Adam Scott for second. Australia's barren run at the Masters might have ended right then had South Africa's Charl Schwartzel not birdied the last four holes to overhaul the pair.

Last year, Day came to Augusta battling an ankle injury and had to retire midway through his second round but is fully fit this time.

"I wish I could have played through the pain of last year, but it was unfortunate that I had the injury," he said.

"But it's really good to be back here. And obviously being on top of the leaderboard right now is a great honor to have, and I'm really looking forward to getting out there the next two days and playing well."

Day also finished second at the 2011 US Open but has not figured in any of the majors since. He skipped the 2012 British Open to be with his wife after the birth of their first child.

Day was even for the round after six holes on Friday but began his charge with a birdie at the seventh hole.

He birdied the first two holes on the back nine before dropping a shot at Amen Corner when he plonked his tee shot into Rae's Creek, but then picked up two more on the run home.

"Not many people get to say that they have had the lead a couple of times at the Masters. I'm just really looking forward to the challenge over the weekend," Day said.

"It really is exciting to have the opportunity to win the Masters. I'm very, very happy where I am right now."

Day is not the only Australian in contention at this week's Masters. All four Aussies who entered the tournament are in the top 14 heading into the weekend.

Marc Leishman, who shared the first-round lead, was tied for second, one stroke behind Day.

(China Daily 04/14/2013 page8)

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