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Jason Day visits the Tournament Practice Area on Friday, March 31, 2017.

Photo by: SCOTT K.BROWN/Augusta National

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If he appeared to look younger and more upbeat than when we last saw him, Jason Day said Saturday that it had little to do with his clean-shaven look or the majestic weather at Augusta National Golf Club.

Instead, it had everything to do with the way things have progressed with his mother, Dening. She had surgery March 24 to treat her lung cancer, but Day said his mother was resting back in Columbus, Ohio, and doing much better.

“Obviously, we still have to wait to see (about) chemo,” Day said, “but we feel much better about things.”

Day, 29, played Augusta National Friday in advance of the 81st Masters, then played the second nine Saturday before settling in to do some late-afternoon short-game work with his caddie and swing coach, Colin Swatton. Day’s wife, Ellie, and two children are back home helping to care for Dening, and Day said other family friends are going to lend assistance this week.

Day flew his mother to Columbus from Australia earlier in the year and put her in the care of doctors at Ohio State’s James Cancer Hospital. He said he’s at the Masters in a good frame of mind because “she’s in good hands.”

Certainly, the picture is far different than it was in the aftermath of Day’s decision to withdraw from the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play to be with his mother.

“I didn’t even want to be on the golf course,” he said. “It was a struggle for me to play golf.”

But barring a change in Dening’s situation, Day seems to be in serious prep mode for a seventh appearance at the Masters, where he’s twice finished top five and last year was T10.

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