15 May 2023 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Day's drought-breaker as our streak continues

by Martin Blake

Jason Day Texas jubilation image
A birdie at the 72nd hole and Jason Day fist pumps. Photo: Getty

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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