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Filipino Australian golf star Jason Day is back in groove, finishing third Sunday in the World Golf Championship Match Play at Dove Mountain Golf Club in Marana, Arizona.
The 25-year-old Day lost to eventual champion Matt Kuchar 4 and 3 in their semifinal match but bounced back to win his consolation match against Ian Poulter, 1-up to win $615,000 plus 200 FedEx Cup points.
Kuchar bagged the winner's trophy and the $1.5 million top prize, with a 2 and 1 win over Hunter Mahan in an All-American finals. Mahan took home $875,000, while Poulter got $500,000 for his fourth-place finish.
Day started slow, falling behind Poulter by two strokes in the first six holes, but the half Pinoy on the mother side took the seventh, eighth and ninth to gain a 1-up lead.
Day then won the 12th with a par to double his lead and went 3-up when Poulter bogeyed the 14th, but faltered in the 16th and 17 holes with consecutive bogeys even as Poulter saved pars.
He then closed out the match with a nine-foot par in the next hole.
Day said he was disappointed to drop his match with Kuchar but added the "whole week was positive for me."
Day beat two major champions in one day to earn his semifinal slot.
He edged reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson 4 and 3 in the round of 16, followed by a hard-earned 1-up win over former US Open champ Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland in the quarterfinals.
"I played good golf against great golfers,'' said Day, who was hobbled by injuries in an otherwise uneventful 2012 campaign.
Day said his immediate plan is to work his way back to the Top 10 by winning more tournaments. He and his wife Ellie had their first child last July 11 in Ohio and they named him Dash James.
"I have goals, and one of them is to get back into the top 10," Day told The Australian. "I really think that I belong there, it's just a matter of how hard I want it and how hard I need to work to get it. That's all it comes down to. The commitment and dedication that I put into my game will hopefully get me there."Now ranked, 35th in the world -- he was ranked eighth at one time -- Day is the only one of the WGC-Match Play semifinalists entered in this week's $6-million Honda Classic in Palm Beach, Florida.