Cameron Davis fired a final-round 7-under 64, overcoming a six-shot deficit to Jason Day, to capture the 2017 Emiratas Australian Open – his first ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia title.
The 22-year old Aussie finished his four rounds at The Australian Golf Club in 11 under, highlighted by bookend rounds of 63 and 64, respectively.
With such a large deficit to start, and a world-class player like Day at the top, Davis assumed his chances of winning were slim, so he never peaked at the scoreboard and kept grinding for 18 holes – with a more realistic goal being a top-3 finish and invite to Carnoustie.
“It’s a little bit numb at the moment, I think. I just didn’t expect to be in this situation, even though I had a great round, I just didn’t think I was going to be far enough up the leaderboard,” said Davis.
“I didn’t look at the leaderboard all day; that was probably good for me to do. I just kept on going, just tried to keep playing my game and just keep pushing and pushing and see how far up I could get really.
“I didn’t even see the leaderboard before I hit that putt on the last hole. I made that, and I thought, I’ll be up around the top, but to come into the scorer’s hut and see where I was at, I was kind of blown away. I had no idea I was going to be there.”
Tied for second, and earning the other two invites to the 2018 Open at Carnoustie, were Aussie Matt Jones and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, who posted matching 68s to finish at 10 under.
Cameron Smith shot 3-under 68 on Sunday to move into sole fourth at 9 under, one clear of 54-hole leader Day, who carded a disappointing 2-over 73.
Day’s final round started nicely with a birdie on the first which got him to 11 under – the eventual winning score – but after that it was mostly downhill for the Aussie. A double bogey on No. 9 followed by bogeys on 11 and 13, essentially ended the 30-year old’s chances for a title in his homeland, and the first of any kind since the 2016 PLAYERS.
“I obviously would have loved to win over there, but I just didn’t quite have everything clicking. Had everything clicking the first three days here and then today was just a little bit off,” said Day, who knew any score in the 60s would have won him the tournament.
“So, just haven’t quite put it together this whole year and looking forward to getting some time off and trying to decompress a little bit and not even think about golf, because this whole year I’ve been kind of stressing about how I can get better and better and better.
“And unfortunately when you worry about playing good, sometimes you can actually worry about it too much and force of habit a little bit and actually not end up playing good at all.’’
Defending champion Jordan Spieth, meanwhile, shot a 4-under 67 to move into the top-10 at 6 under.
FINAL TOP 10
1 Cameron Davis -11
2 Jonas Blixt -10
2 Matt Jones -10
4 Cameron Smith -9
5 Jason Day -8
6 Mark Brown -7
6 Lucas Herbert -7
8 Jordan Spieth -6
9 Matthew Guyatt -5
10 Travis Smyth -4
10 James Marchesani -4
BOOKEND LOW ROUNDS
A look at the four rounds of winner Cameron Davis.
Round 1: 1st -8 (63)
Round 2: 5th -7 (72)
Round 3: 8th -4 (74)
Round 4: 1st -11 (64)
VIDEO: WINNING PUTT
And that fist pump too.
OUTRIGHT LEADER @camdavisgolf finishes with a birdie on 18 for a superb 11-under tournament finish.
— #AusOpenGolf (@AusOpenGolf) November 26, 2017
“It’s a little bit numb at the moment, I think. I just didn’t expect to be in this situation. Even though I had a great round, I just didn’t think I was going to be far enough up the leaderboard.”
– Cameron Davis, 2017 Emirates Australian Open champion