Date: September 23, 2013

Grant Report – Day joins stars in Australian Open

US PGA star Jason Day will join compatriot Adam Scott and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy in the Australian Open at Royal Sydney Golf Club in November as the Queenslander pursues the one goal which has eluded him in a brilliant 2013 season – a title.

The ambition is still on hold following the US PGA Tour finale, the Tour Championship, won by Swede Henrik Stenson, who also took out the FedEx Cup with its $US10million bonus.

Stenson, who became the first European to win the series, fired a 13 under par total of 267 to take out the final 30-man tournament in Atlanta, Georgia, by three shots from Americans Steve Stricker and Jordan Speith.

Day and Adam Scott both tied for 14th, with Scott shooting a final round 69 despite being hampered by a debilitating virus.

Last week Day continued to edge closer to a triumph as he finished the leading Australian in the penultimate FedEx Cup play-off tournament, the BMW.

He finished in a tie for fourth after defying a sinus infection to shoot a final round 66 and finish 11 under par behind US winner Zach Johnson.

Day’s Australian Open entry is another boost for the national championship. He has had his best year yet on the US Tour, finishing in a share of second at the US Open in June and and third at the Masters in April.

"The Open has always had a special place in the hearts of Australian players and I’ll be ready to do battle with all the other guys at Royal Sydney and hopefully win my first Stonehaven Cup," Day said.

In 2011, Day finished in a tie for fourth behind Greg Chalmers when the Australian Open was held at The Lakes.

Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt said he was delighted to see Day return to Australia.

"Jason has been right in contention at recent major championships and we’re thrilled that he will be back in Sydney to contest the Open," Pitt said.

The Open could provide Day with a last gasp chance to complete his year with a victory.

The world No.17 has secured a clutch of top 10 finishes and 10 top 25s and hasn’t missed a single cut. But a goal remains.

”My big goal was to win this year and while unfortunately I haven’t had the win yet…hopefully I can reach every goal I put down on paper this year,” he said.

”It has been a good year for me but the next step is definitely a win. I really want that.

”I can’t be happy with just top 10s. I have been feeling that even more lately, especially in the back half of the year.”

Day has won once on the US Tour – in 2010 at the Byron Nelson Championship and while he has been as high as world No.7 the lack of silverware is beginning to irritate him.

”I’ve won before so I know I can do it but it is difficult,” he said. ”I think I just need to learn how to do it again.

”I feel good about my game and I know it’s trending in the right direction. I know I can play and compete and beat the guys out there.

”I’ve played well in majors so the biggest thing is just to believe in myself in the clutch situations. ‘I really believe I can win and now I just have to get out there and execute.”

Meanwhile, Australian Matt Jones came agonisingly close to a spot in the Tour finale – and its $10 million bonus – in Atlanta a week ago when he missed out on a place in the field by just one shot.

Jones’ putt on the last green at the BMW lipped out, giving him a final round of 67 to finish at 10-under in a tie for eighth.

A birdie would have opened the door to the Championship and allowed him entry into next year’s Masters, US and British Opens.

"I knew I needed to make that to have a chance. I hit a good putt and it just didn’t drop," Jones said. "I just didn’t make the putts when I needed to.
"Regardless, I have done well this year. I started off with conditional status and I’ve done well to get here.

Adam Scott closed with a 67 in the second last play-off event to be two-under for the week and tied for 28th while Marc Leishman’s season ended with a final-round 69.

The Victorian took a share of 39th and now plans to rest before joining the International team for the Presidents Cup.

By: Robert Grant