With Martin Kaymer untouchable, Jason Day and Adam Scott walked away from the US Open frustrated but with cause for optimism.
Australia’s big two golfers finished inside the top 10 yet again at a major championship, though neither looked like contending – mainly because Kaymer was on a level all of his own at demanding Pinehurst No.2 as he led throughout and won by eight shots.
Both finished strongly, world No.7 Day with a 68 to tie for fourth – his seventh top-10 finish in majors in just 14 starts – while world No.1 Scott shot a 69 and tied ninth – his best effort in his 13 US Opens.
Day was a distant 10 shots behind Kaymer but glad to perform so well off a severely restricted preparation, having injured his thumb after his victory in the WGC-Match Play in February and aggravated it by returning for the Masters.
“To get into the top five, especially after an injury, is pretty special,” said 26-year-old Day, who changed his putter for the last round after struggling on the greens all week.
“I’m pretty pleased with how everything went on one of the biggest stages against the best players in the world.
“There’s a few things that I still need to tighten up but another solid finish here means I am doing the right things.
“I feel like I just have to keep doing the work, paying my dues and hopefully it will fall my way soon.”
Day will play the next three US PGA tour events in a row as he tries to make up his required minimum tour appearances.
Scott took comfort from his first top 10 finish at the US Open but was still annoyed he didn’t play better.
His three-over 73 to open the tournament had him eight behind former world No.1 Kaymer on day one.
“It’s a step in the right direction but I wished I would have been closer,” he said.
“Thursday’s round was costly in the scheme of things and it was just a few too many errors throughout the first three rounds.”
The 33-year-old Scott won’t be seen in tournament golf again until the British Open at Royal Liverpool in July.
“I am playing well so I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing and I’ll try and learn from a couple of things that I did this week that may have been wrong or not the best and try and take that as I go forward in US Opens and also heading into the Open Championship,” he said.
Fellow Australian Aaron Baddeley shot two-over on his final round to be six-over and in a tie for 23rd.