SYDNEY, Australia, Nov 26 – Australia’s Cameron Davis shot a brilliant final round of seven-under-par 64 to win the 102nd Australian Open after a wild finish to the tournament Sunday.
Regarded as one of Australia’s most promising young players, the 22-year-old charged home to beat his more experienced rivals and capture his first professional title.
With the blustery conditions testing the nerves and skill of all the players, Davis birdied the last hole to finish at 11-under-par and win by one stroke from Sweden’s Jonas Blixt and compatriot Matt Jones, the 2015 champion.
Cameron Smith, the only Australian to win on the PGA Tour this year, finished fourth at nine-under after closing with a 68, while overnight leader Jason Day faded to fifth at eight-under after shooting a 73.
“It’s obviously a little bit disappointing to come out and not finish it, but I’ve just got to kind of look back on it and see what I need to do for next time,” Day said.
“You can’t be perfect all the time. I played three terrific rounds actually, the first three rounds, and I just didn’t put it together on Sunday.”
In a thrilling final round which saw four different players hold the lead at various stages, Davis timed his run to perfection to claim victory.
Day led from the outset but slipped back down the leaderboard when he hit his second shot from a fairway bunker on the ninth hole into the water for a double bogey.
Day’s playing partner Lucas Herbert briefly took over as leader but made three bogeys and a double in his last 10 holes to fall out of contention and eventually finish tied for sixth.
Blixt recovered from a double bogey on the ninth to reel off four birdies in five holes and join Davis in a share of the lead, but missed a 15-foot putt on the last to force a playoff.
“I haven’t been in this position (for a while), so it was kind of fun being in it,” Blixt said.
“I felt really comfortable the last four holes and tried to make a run at it and it didn’t happen.”
While his rivals all struggled in the wind, Davis made six birdies in his final round and a spectacular eagle-2 on the 12th, when he found the hole from the middle of the fairway.
Davis, the 2015 Australian Amateur champion, turned professional after helping his country win the Eisenhower Trophy last year. But he has been struggling to make his mark while playing on the Canadian PGA Tour.
Best known as one of the few ambidextrous players in golf, Davis joined the honour roll of champions to get their name engraved on the Stonehaven Cup for winning the Australian Open, one of the world’s oldest tournaments.
He also earned himself a place in his first major, at next year’s British Open.
Defending Australian Open champion Jordan Spieth eagled his final hole to end a disappointing week on a high and finish eighth at six under.
“It was a great finish, it was nice,” Spieth said.
“I found a nice trigger and I was getting through my putts a lot better than I was at the beginning of the week. And had that happened the whole week, I would definitely have been in contention.”