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Day, Leishman join Scott in big day for Aussies

Monday - 4/15/2013, 12:07am  ET

Jason Day, of Australia, reacts after missing a birdie putt on the 18th hole during the fourth round of the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 14, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

NANCY ARMOUR
AP National Writer

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- It was a g'day for all the Australians.

Not only did Adam Scott win the Masters on Sunday, ending the country's agonizing drought at Augusta National, Jason Day and Marc Leishman gave Australia three golfers in the top four.

Day finished third, while Leishman and Tiger Woods tied for fourth.

"I'm a proud Australian," Scott said, "and I hope this sits really well back at home."

Australia may not have the golf tradition of, say, Scotland or England. But Australians are big on sports of any kind, and they've been particularly ga-ga for golf since Greg Norman was one of the world's best.

Norman's misfortunes at Augusta National -- 1996, anyone? -- elevated the Masters to almost mythic proportions for Australian golfers, and every one of them knew they were playing not only for themselves but the whole country any time they got in contention.

Day seemed to have the best shot, taking a two-stroke lead with three holes to go. But he made bogeys on the next two holes to fall a stroke behind, then ran a birdie putt that would have put him back in the lead a foot past the hole on 18. As the ball rolled past the cup, Day crouched down and put a hand to his face.

It's the second time he's faltered won the stretch at the Masters, finishing second in 2011.

"I think pressure got to me a little bit," said Day, who finished two strokes behind Scott and Angel Cabrera.

"It's unfortunate. But I'm very happy with how things are going right now with Adam," Day said as Scott was heading to his playoff with Cabrera. "I'm hoping he can be the first player, if it wasn't me."

Leishman was never really a threat to win. But few even expected him to be on the leaderboard.

He's ranked 108th in the world, and his only PGA Tour win was last year at Travelers. He'd missed the cut in four of his previous seven tournaments.

Oh, this was only his second appearance at the Masters, too. In his first, a year ago, he missed the cut.

"Obviously it didn't work out the way I wanted it to today, but I also had a great tournament," said Leishman, who finished four strokes behind Scott after shooting his second straight 72. "It's something to build on for the rest of the year, for sure."

And now that the oh-fer streak is over, maybe there will be more green jackets in Australia's future.

"It's a little disappointing, but there's a lot of experience that I can take into next year," Day said. "Hopefully I can wear one of those green jackets soon."

___

SEE YOU AGAIN: For a guy who'd never been to Augusta National before, John Huh figured the place out pretty quickly.

Not only did Huh get an automatic invite to next year's Masters by finishing 11th, he also took home a nice piece of crystal after an eagle on the par-5 15th.

"That's what I'm really looking forward to receiving," Huh said.

Asked how he knew about the prize, the Masters rookie said someone told him about it during a practice round.

"They told me, 'Every time you eagle you get crystal.' So that's what I was looking forward to," Huh said.

Huh was hovering on the edge of the cut line after going 70-77 the first two days. But he made it by one stroke, then climbed up the leaderboard with a 71 on Saturday. He followed that with a 4-under 68 on Sunday, the second-best score of the day.

That tied him for 11th, with Tim Clark, and ensured he'll be back next year.

The top 12 players are guaranteed entry into next year's tournament. Fellow Masters rookie Thorbjorn Olesen also booked a return ticket with his tie for sixth.

"That was my goal, actually, before I teed up today, trying to come back here next year if I could," Huh said. "I'm really pleased with the way I played today and look forward to playing next year."

In the meantime, Huh will savor the memories of this week.

"I'm taking two weeks off after this, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a good memory for two weeks," he said. "Hopefully I can take all the positive stuff from what I did this week to the next tournament."

___

BUBBA GOLF: For a guy who made a 10 on a par-3, Bubba Watson was in a great mood.

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