Date: July 23, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Aussies rue squandered chances

On a day when the sport’s grandest title was up for grabs for so long, a band of Aussies should be both justifiably proud of their efforts, yet at the same time leaving Carnoustie wondering what might have been.

Remarkably, in a week when his name was rarely mentioned, Jason Day played a fine closing round to finish joint leading Aussie with Adam Scott at two under.

Day’s 68, the final round’s second best score, elevated him more than 30 places to a share of 17th on a day of high wind and drama, yet pointed more to his battles earlier in the week when scoring seemed easier for his peers.

Scott, similarly, made enough birdies – 16 for the week – to contend, but was left to rue a four-over-par six-hole stretch today, including a double on the short par-four third which was the fifth easiest hole all week by the numbers.

The ultra-impressive Open debutants were next among the Aussie crew with Sydneysider Cameron Davis peeling off a slew of fourth-round birdies, six in total, among five bogeys for a closing 70 and a two-over-par total that left him in a share of 39th.

Both he and Bendigo’s Lucas Herbert – a 77 finale for a four-over total – should be incredibly proud of their achievements in such a pressure-cooker environment for the first time.

But even the normally upbeat Herbert was downcast after his round, realising his travails, particularly on the closing hole, might prove costly for his year-end ambitions.

“It’s a pretty disappointing finish. I’m not stoked with that. Plenty to take away, I guess, but not happy with that finish,” he said.

“I had a couple of poor putts (on the 18th after I) hit a bad tee shot into that right bunker (when you can) hit it as far left as you like.

“The goal was top 25, I take some positives from it, but still pretty disappointed at this point,” said Herbert, who said his T51 finish could potentially damage his push for a European Tour card at season’s end.

“That didn’t really help today.”

Another to leave Scotland pondering his week was Marc Leishman, who had been four under par after just eight holes on day one, but tumbled today with a closing 76 to finish five over and in 60th place.

Brett Rumford was also on the rollercoaster with three birdies but six bogeys today in his final-round 74 that left him T61 at six over, while Cameron Smith limped home in 77 to finish 78th at 10 over.