Aussies eye PGA bounce-back after WGC slide
JASON Day and Marc Leishman have vowed to show up at the US PGA Championship in better shape after squandering back-nine chances to win the World Golf Championships Invitational in Ohio.
The top-ranked Australians came within striking distance of eventual winner Justin Thomas, only to fall victim to Firestone Country Club's brutal closing stretch.
Former world No.1 Day pulled within two shots of Thomas when he rattled off three straight birdies starting at the 10th hole.
But back-to-back bogeys from the 13th preceded a double-bogey at the par-5 16th as Day signed for a 73 to share 10th at seven under, eight shots back of Thomas.
Thomas carded a one-under-par 69 and at 15 under he earned a four-shot win from Kyle Stanley (68), while world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Thorbjorn Olesen (both 64) tied for third at 10 under.
Leishman also gave himself an outside chance at reeling in Thomas with two early birdies.
But four straight bogeys from the 13th hole cruelled Leishman's hopes at a maiden WGC title, carding a 73 to tie for 14th at six under.
"It was ugly, that's all you can say," Leishman said.
"The course was a lot tougher today and I just completely lost it on the last six holes.
"You're playing against the best players in the world and you can't hit bad shots and miss easy par saves."
But Leishman says he will take positives from contending at the elite, 71-man WGC into the year's final major - which starts Thursday at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis, Missouri.
"For sure, especially contending on a golf course like (Firestone)," Leishman said.
"I feel good about my game and I have a few things to work at the PGA."
Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner, is similarly confident of sharpening up in time for a bid at an anticipated second major title.
"I know I'm playing well and I'm hitting my iron shots great," Day said.
"I just have to work on my driver a little bit because it has been quite decent for most of the year, but this week it wasn't.
"If I hit more fairways I feel like I've got a good chance at winning the PGA Championship."
Meanwhile, Queenslander Cameron Smith's 67 earned him outright 23rd at four under, while countryman Wade Ormsby (73) shared 39th at one over.
Adam Scott's 74 left the 2011 winner at four over and tied for 57th.