15 May 2023 | Professional golf |
Aussies on Tour: Day's drought-breaker as our streak continues
by Martin Blake
Five weeks, six huge wins. Australian golf is in the midst of what may well be an unprecedented run of triumphs overseas, with Jason Day adding to the ledger with an emotional win today in Texas.
Day secured his first victory on the PGA Tour in almost exactly five years when he won the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament at TPC Craig Ranch with a sensational final-round 62, playing in front of his growing family on Mother’s Day.
It was his first win since the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship, covering 105 starts during which he has battled a welter of injuries and illness.
Australia’s run of wins began on April 23 when Lucas Herbert closed out the ISPS HANDA Championship on the DP World Tour in Japan, and has continued with Grace Kim and Hannah Green (LPGA Tour), Mark Hensby (PGA Champions), Gabi Ruffels (Epson Tour) and now Day recording victories – a six-win streak over five weekends that indicates the strength of elite golfers emanating from this country.
Yet it could have been so much better for Australia today with Minjee Lee and Cameron Smith both suffering heartbreakers in playoffs in the United States. Three wins in a single weekend were plainly within touching distance.
Lee, the world No. 6, led the LPGA Tour’s Founders Cup in New Jersey by two shots with three holes to play, but was reeled in by South Korea’s former world No. 1 Jin Young Ko with a long birdie at the last.
Playing a group behind, Lee almost chipped in from behind the green at the 72nd hole to close it there and then, but was forced into a playoff on the same hole where she found the fringe of the green with a chance for birdie.
Ko putted up close for a solid par, but Lee rammed her birdie putt two metres long and then missed the comeback putt for par to hand the throne to Ko.
It was a rare slip-up from the Australian who at least showed a return to form just two months out from her defence of the US Women’s Open.
Up-and-coming Sydney pro Kim was another to stand out in that tournament with a T10 finish.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Smith shot a remarkable final-round 61 in the LIV Golf event to reach a playoff against American Dustin Johnson and Branden Grace of South Africa.
But at the playoff hole, Johnson buried his birdie putt from four metres, and Smith, with an almost-identical putt, pushed it right and could only make par.
Day’s victory in Texas bodes well for Australia’s chances at the season’s second major for men, the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, this week.
The Queenslander began the final day two shots back from the lead but was quickly into gear, taking the lead when he chipped in at the 12th.
Followed around by his pregnant wife Ellie and their four children, Day’s signature shot came at the par-5 18th where he held a one-shot lead.
Laying up short of the green, his pristine wedge shot landed and spun inside a metre of the cup, and he rolled the birdie putt in to clinch the win.
"I've had a lot of injuries with my back and for a moment there I thought I wasn't going to play again, and then just trying to get through those two years [where] trying to get through a tournament was difficult,” said the Australian.
"So to be on the other side, to be healthy and feeling good about my game, and finally winning again, there's no better feeling really."
Day had his late mother Dening’s name etched on his caddie bib this week for Mother’s Day, having lost her to cancer just a year ago.
He also acknowledge wife Ellie, although he admitted to having overlooked any gift-purchasing for Mothers Day.
"The amount of sacrifice she's made for me and my career, I can't thank her enough."
PGA TOUR AT&T Byron Nelson | TPC Craig Ranch, Texas
1 Jason Day 64-69-66-62 – 261 $US1,710,000
T8 Adam Scott 63-71-68-63 – 265 $277,875
T23 Aaron Baddeley 71-65-66-67 – 269 $80,546
T50 Harrison Endycott 69-64-74-66 – 273 $22,216
T67 David Micheluzzi 65-73-67-70 – 275 $19,855
T70 Greg Chalmers 69-65-73-69 – 276 $19,190
MC Geoff Ogilvy 70-73 -143
MC Cameron Percy 69-74 - 143
MC Min Woo Lee 69-75 - 144
LPGA Tour Cognizant Founders Cup Upper Montclair Country Club, New Jersey
1 Jin Young Ko (S Korea) 68-68-72-67 – 275 playoff $US450,000
2 Minjee Lee 68-69-67-71 – 275 $282,165
T10 Grace Kim 69-72-68-75 – 284 $58,188
T13 Sarah Kemp 71-65-75-74 – 285 $46,344
T31 Karis Davidson 73-68-76-72 - $20,276
T31 Stephanie Kyriacou 70-69-73-77 – 289 $20,276
T42 Lydia Ko (NZ) 72-71-71-77 – 291 $12,498
MC Hannah Green 76-72 – 148
DP World Tour Soudal Open Rinkven International Golf Club, Antwerp, Belgium
1 Simon Forrstram (Swe) 64-67-67-69 – $US340,000
MC Maverick Antcliff 72-70 - 142
MC Daniel Hillier (NZ) 71-72 - 143
MC Jason Scrivener 74-73 - 147
MC Blake Windred 75-75 - 150
PGA Champions Regions Tradition Greystone Golf and Country Club, Alabama
1 Steve Stricker 68-68-64-65 – 265 $US375,000
T11 Richard Green 70-72-65-70 – 277 $53,125
T28 Steve Alker (NZ) 70-76-70-66 – 282 $18,964
T36 Stuart Appleby 74-70-69-71 – 284 $14,333
T36 David McKenzie 70-71-72-71 - 284 $14,333
T40 Rod Pampling 75-71-70-70 – 286 $12,000
T53 Mark Hensby 74-71-77-68 – 290 $6000
Ladies European Tour Jabra Ladies Open Evian Resort Golf Club, Evian, France
1 Linn Grant (Swe) 68-67-69 – 204
T13 Kirsten Rudgeley 75-68-70 – 213
T60 Wenyung Keh (NZ) 73-73-78 – 224
MC Whitney Hillier 73-76 – 149
MC Hanee Song (NZ) 81-72 – 153
LIV Golf Tucson The Gallery Golf Club, Arizona
1 Dustin Johnson (USA) 63-63-67 - 193 playoff $US 4,000,000
T2 Cameron Smith 64-68-61 – 193 $1,875,000
T30 Matt Jones 67-71-76 – 204 $170,000
T36 Danny Lee (NZ) 70-64-72 – 206 $146,250
T36 Marc Leishman 69-68-69 – 206 $146,250
47 Jed Morgan 73-66-72 – 211 $122,250
Trust Golf Thailand Mixed 2023 Match 1 St Andrews 2000 Golf Course, Rayong, Thailand
1 Denwit David Booriboonsub (Thai)
T16 Liam Georgiadis
T20 Shae Wools Cobb
T37 Aiden Didone
T45 Lachlan Barker
T55 Matthew Stieger
MC Celina Yuan
MC Siyi Keh (NZ)
MC Tim Hart
MC Andre Lautee
MC Elmay Viking (Cook Islands)
MC Rhianna Lewis
MC Steffanie Vogel
MC Munchin Keh (NZ)
MC Lachlan Armour
MC Danielle Price (NZ)
All Abilities Golf The G4D Open Woburn GC, Buckinghamshire, England
1 Brendan Lawlor (Ire) 70-74-75 - 219
T8 Lachlan Wood 84-76-76 – 234
T23 Geoff Nicholas 79-88-85 - 252
30 Cameron Pollard 84-87-89 – 260
71 Adam Letherbarrow 101-106-121 – 328
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