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Jason Day set for Byron Nelson title defence
May 26, 2011

Jason Day will launch his title defence at this week’s Byron Nelson Championship with his confidence level several notches higher than when he claimed his maiden PGA Tour victory at the tournament last year.

Although Day has not triumphed since, he has contended strongly in the last two majors and this season has posted five top-10 finishes in 11 starts on the competitive U.S. circuit.

“This was a platform to the next level for me,” the 23-year-old told reporters at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas on Wednesday about the impact of his 2010 success.

“I’ve contended in a couple of majors now and I’ve grown on the course and off the course, which has been nice. It’s been a really exciting last 12 months.

“My confidence coming into this event is obviously high. I don’t want to sound too cocky but I feel good about my game and where I am right now, mentally.”

Day, the 2006 Australian amateur champion, has long been regarded as one of golf’s most exciting young prospects.

Yet despite his considerable talent, he has always taken his time to become accustomed to each level of the game as he has made his way up the rankings.

“It took me a while,” the world number 23 said. “I’ve always done that, whether it’s from junior golf to amateur golf or amateur golf to professional golf,

“It’s my fourth year on the PGA Tour and I’m starting to feel more comfortable out here with the guys.

“As you play and succeed a little more and win tournaments … you gain confidence and you know that you’re doing the right things. You’re improving on the right things. It’s been great.”

Day tied for 10th at last year’s PGA Championship but he eclipsed that performance by finishing joint second at the Masters in April, his best result in a major.

“Obviously the Masters was the biggest highlight of the year, and I’ve had (more) top-10s,” he said. “I’ve had five of those this year and I’ve made a lot of money.

“I want to be known as a consistent winner on the PGA Tour. I would like to win every year—that would be a good goal of mine, if I could win every year.”

Day will have to contend with a relatively strong field when he tees off in Thursday’s opening round at the TPC Four Seasons.

Four of the world’s top 20 are taking part this week, including 10th-ranked Matt Kuchar and fellow Americans Dustin Johnson (13th) and Nick Watney (15th).

Also competing are seven of the last eight champions — among them South African Rory Sabbatini (2009), American Scott Verplank (2007), Spaniard Sergio Garcia (2004) and Fijian Vijay Singh (2003).

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