Two major scalps put Day into last four

Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:30pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

MARANA, Arizona (Reuters) - Jason Day found it nerve-racking at the end but he could not keep the smile off his face after beating the Masters champion and a former U.S. Open winner on Saturday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

The 25-year-old Australian stunned Bubba Watson 4&3 in the morning with an impressive five-birdie display before battling past 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell 1-up in the afternoon at Dove Mountain.

Having previously beaten U.S. Ryder Cup player Zach Johnson and PGA Tour rookie Russell Henley this week, Day was able to celebrate his first appearance in the semi-finals of the elite World Golf Championships (WGC) event.

"It says my game is moving in the right direction, that I beat the reigning Masters champion and a former U.S. Open champion," Day told reporters after earning a spot against American Matt Kuchar in the last four at Dove Mountain.

"I've been playing great, and I'm just really, really excited to get into the matches tomorrow. I know Matt'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."

Day, whose only PGA Tour victory came at the 2010 Byron Nelson Championship, has slipped from a career-high seventh in the world to 43rd and he is eager to break back into the upper reaches by producing the form he has shown so far this week.

"I have goals, and one of them is to get back into the top 10," he said. "I really think that I belong there.

"It's just a matter of how hard I want it and how hard I need to work to get it, that's all it comes down to, the commitment and dedication that I put into my game will hopefully get me there.   Continued...

Jason Day of Australia hits his second shot on the 18th hole during the quarterfinal round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship golf tournament in Marana, Arizona February 23, 2013. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan