A positive week with the putter is all that stands between Jason Day and a drought-breaking PGA TOUR title after the Queenslander finished tied for eighth at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.
Day began the final round inside the top five and determined to secure his first win in more than 12 months but couldn’t convert stellar iron play into birdies often enough as American Chez Reavie broke a drought of his own, claiming his first win in 11 years at TPC River Highlands by four strokes and seven clear of Day.
Day, whose next event will be the 3M Open a fortnight before the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, hit 94 per cent of greens in his final round of 1-under 69 yet lost ground with his putter, the club that has been such a strength throughout his professional career.
A double-bogey on the par-3 eighth after he came up short in the water with his tee shot was the only green Day missed in his final round, three birdies on the back-9 pushing him up inside the top-10 for the sixth time in 16 starts this season.
But putting is where tournaments are won and lost and Day said following his round that there was only one remedy to get back in the winner’s circle.
“Just get back and practice,” was Day’s simple assertion.
“I need to improve the putting. Even though I hit a lot of good, quality putts, just not quite happy with it.
“I hit 88 per cent of greens this week which is very strong. Shot 1-under today and hit 17 greens. The only mistake I made was on the par-3 and I miss hit it and pulled up short in the water.
“There are a lot of positives coming from this week and I feel really good about my game.
“Very, very motivated to go back and practice this coming week and get ready for the 3M.”
Quick out of the blocks with an opening round of 4-under 66 Victorian Marc Leishman closed with a 2-under par 68 to finish tied for 21st, his lone bogey of the day coming at the par-4 17th as he moved 13 spots up the leaderboard.
On the Korn Ferry Tour (previously known as the Web.com Tour), Rhein Gibson further entrenched his name within the top-10 of the moneylist with a tie for 14th at the Wichita Open to be the pick of the Australians at Crestview Country Club in Kansas.
The winner of the Wichita Open won’t be determined for another day after a five-man playoff had to be suspended with only three players eliminated, Henrik Norlander and Bryan Bigley the two players remaining when play was called off for the day.
Maintaining the form that saw him capture the BMW Charity Pro-Am a few weeks ago, Gibson completed four rounds in the 60s with a 3-under round of 67 in his final round to finish inside the top-15 and projected to stay at seventh on the Order of Merit.
Kiwi Tim Wilkinson’s 4-under 66 on Sunday moved him up to a tie for 22nd with Sydney’s Jamie Arnold and New Zealander Steven Alker also qualifying for the weekend rounds.
TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Connecticut
T8 Jason Day 70-63-68-69—270 $US194,400
T21 Marc Leishman 66-70-70-68—274 $65,760
T43 Cameron Davis 70-68-69-70—277 $21,924
MDF Matt Jones 69-69-72—210 $13,824
MC Curtis Luck 70-69—139
MC Rod Pampling 72-68—140
MC Danny Lee 73-69—142
MC Aaron Baddeley 70-72—142
MC Cameron Smith 71-72—143
Korn Ferry Tour
Crestview Country Club, Wichita, Kansas
T14 Rhein Gibson 67-69-66-67—269
T22 Tim Wilkinson 71-66-67-66—270
T51 Jamie Arnold 67-67-70-71—275
T63 Steven Alker 66-72-73-67—278
MC Brett Drewitt 70-70—140
MC Brett Coletta 70-71—141
MC Nick Voke 71-73—144
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