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Australia's Day glad to be back in the frame after injury woes

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Jason Day’s hopes of a second major title petered out over the final holes at the PGA Championship on Sunday but the Australian leaves TPC Harding Park with renewed confidence after a difficult period on the tour.

Aug 9, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Jason Day plays from the bunker on the 18th during the final round of the 2020 PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 winner finished tied for fourth, three strokes behind maiden major champion Collin Morikawa, having grabbed a share of the lead at the 14th with an eight-foot birdie putt in his closing four-under 66.

A relaxed-looking Day was all smiles when on top late in the round but he exited with a tinge of regret after being unable to conjure birdies on the final four holes to pressure Californian Morikawa.

It was nonetheless an encouraging week for the 32-year-old former world number one, who relished the feeling of challenging on the final day of a major again.

“Overall, I played solid golf from tee-to-green,” Day said after his bogey-free round.

“Gave myself the opportunities. Although I played great, I still -- there’s still a lot more to improve on.

“I feel like my game was just solid enough to get into a playoff, if not win.”

Day has battled back problems for much of his career and tumbled out of the top 50 after a winless 2019.

But he arrived in chilly San Francisco with top-10 finishes in his three previous starts and with a fresh mindset after splitting with long-time coach and mentor Colin Swatton.

“I’ve been moving in the right direction over the last four tournaments,” said Day.

“Things are slowly coming to -- it’s like a puzzle, really. Everything is starting to connect and click.

“Coming into this week, I was confident on my game. I should be walking out of here more confident just with how I played today, more so than anything.

“If my putter gets hot, I’m going to win pretty soon.”

Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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