Jason Day of Australia, reacts after missing a putt on the 17th hole during the third round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta. AP

AUGUSTA: World number three Jason Day of Australia was so upset after his first two Masters rounds that wife Ellie was ready to slap him to snap him out of it.

Day, 29, almost missed the cut with a second round 76 on Friday following his 74 in Thursday’s first round.

“She was kind of ready to slap me in the face because I was so negative with myself,” he said. “And she was trying to get me, pick me up and give me a good boost.”

The spousal therapy worked because he bounced back Saturday with a third-round 69, rising to a share of 23rd place after starting the day with a share of 45th place.

“And it’s obviously good to have a good wife when you have something like that happen. But, yeah, she’s like, you better get it out now before the kids get back.”

Wife Ellie said the couple had words when four-year-old son Dash and baby daughter Lucy were out of their luxury mobile home, which serves as their Atlanta base during the tournament.

“I just told him, ‘Get it together Day. Find something and break it if you need to get it out of your system,’” she said.

After suffering for the first two days, Day found his game on the back nine with four consecutive birdies starting at the tricky par-three 12th in the heart of Amen Corner.

“I think that I feel like I can actually play golf again, which is great, when I play like that,” he said.

“I kind of let things go a little bit in the middle part of my round with not really capitalising on the opportunities I had. Seven and eight especially. But for the most part, birdieing 12 through 15 was pretty good.”

Day, who won his only major title at the 2015 PGA Championship, has had a difficult Masters build-up. He returned in January after three months off with a back injury, then withdrew from the WGC Match-Play tournament in March to spend time with his mother, Dening, who underwent lung cancer surgery two weeks ago.

At one point he considered pulling out of the first major of the year but changed his mind after the operation was declared a success.

“She’s doing really well,” said Ellie, although she has not been well enough to come to Augusta to watch Queenslander Day, now based in Dublin, Ohio, play in his seventh Masters.

His best finish to date was a share of second in 2011 in his debut year an he was third two years later. He has never scored as badly as his second round 76 on Friday, apart from a first-round four over in 2012 when he was injured and forced to withdraw.

Day has not yet counted himself out of contention for 2017.

“If the lead stays around kind of where it’s at, I’ve got to shoot a really good one tomorrow, but once again, anything can happen on a Sunday at Augusta,” he said.--AFP

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