Jason Day and Jordan Spieth headlined the field at last week’s Emirates Australian Open, and it was the native Aussie who was in good position to win the coveted trophy on Sunday outside of Sydney.
Day had fired rounds of 66-68-69 to sit one shot back heading into the final round while Spieth struggled to get anything going shooting rounds of 70-71-70. Sunday was a reversal of fortunes as Spieth fired a strong 4-under par 67 to move into the top-10 and Day shot 2-over par 73 to drop from second place to fifth place.
Jason Day’s campaign to win the Australian Open was derailed by the sand and culminated with a splash on the ninth hole to end a frustrating winless year which the acclaimed golfer described as ‘indifferent.’
Now Day will take an extended break from the game because he believes he has to somehow overcome getting too stressed by the urge to win.
After Day birdied the par-four first hole, there were high hopes that he would achieve his dream of joining Greg Norman, Stuart Appleby, David Graham, Geoff Ogilvy, Steve Elkington, Peter Thomson and co. as his country’s open victor; as, after all, in five of the last six tournaments where he went in as the final round leader he was later that day merrily waving the silverware.
However, it all went wonky from the third hole, where Day suffered a bogey. The 424 metre par four ninth hole though was the real party-pooper. After placing his drive into a fairway bunker, Day’s chip out hit the lip and careered into a nearby lake. He scrambled for a double bogey, and from then on failed to find his momentum — with further bogeys on the 11th and 13th holes stifling any charge, seeing him eventually finish fifth.
— Golf Australia (@GolfAust) November 23, 2017
In the background, numerous Australian young-guns, in particular, the Tab Hunter lookalike Cameron Davis, who is most renowned for hitting a five iron as long left-handed as he can right-handed, charged past Day, handling the flukey northerly wind better in the final stage.
After repeatedly emphasising during the week his passion to win the Stonehaven Cup, to fade away on the final afternoon was irritating.
“The conditions were tough. But there were plenty of scores today in the 60s… I just didn’t play my best. It’s never great to shoot two over par in the final round when you have the lead,” Day said.
“I thought I played three terrific rounds, but just didn’t get it together today.
“The double bogey on nine wasn’t the greatest. I didn’t have the greatest lie in the bunker. I had the seven iron and was going over water, so I had to hit it clean. But I caught it too clean and hit the lip of the bunker.
“I was constantly on the wrong side of momentum. If I was on the right side it might have been a different outcome.”
Asked to rate 2017, Day replied: “It was a little bit indifferent… I didn’t have the greatest of years.
“But I had everything clicking the first three days here. So I haven’t quite got it together this whole year. Now I’m looking forward to having some time off, decompress a little bit, and not even think about golf. This whole year I have been stressing about how I can get better and better and better.
“Unfortunately when you worry about playing good, sometimes you can worry about it too much and actually don’t play too good at all.”
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