Former JDC exemption Day shines in Augusta debut”

14 04 2011

Jason Day at the 2010 John Deere Classic

Australia’s Jason Day, who finished second yesterday at The Masters, played his first PGA TOUR event at the tender age of 18 at the 2006 John Deere Classic.

Tournament director Clair Peterson gave Day an exemption after Day won the 2006 Australian Amateur Stroke-Play Championship, the crowning achievement of a highly decorated amateur career Down Under.  Day made the cut at TPC Deere Run, finished 67th, and earned his first PGA paycheck, worth $8,200, in the Quad Cities.

“We’re really happy for Jason,” said Peterson.  “He’s a terrific young man with a world of talent.  His journey from pretty humble beginnings in Australia to the upper echelon of the PGA TOUR is an example of a very talented individual working very hard to get the most out of his natural abilities.  The fact that he also happens to be a really likeable young man is a bonus.  He has been very loyal to the John Deere Classic.”

Day’s caddie at this year’s Masters was Col Swatton, the same man who caddied for him at the ’06 John Deere and who doubles as Day’s swing coach.  The two met when Day was attending an Australian golf academy where Swatton was a coach.  Swatton also was Day’s best man when Day married his wife, Ellie.

Day tied for 15th at last year’s John Deere Classic.  He missed the tournament in 2007 while playing on the Nationwide Tour, but has been back ever since, and is expected to be in the field this year, too.

In his final round at Augusta National, Day shot a 4-under par 68, which included impressive back-nine birdies at Nos. 12, 17, and 18.  He ended the tournament at 12-under par, two shots behind winner Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.

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