Cameron Davis wins Australian Open by 1 stroke, Day falters

DENNIS PASSA (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

SYDNEY (AP) -- No one was more surprised by who won the Australian Open than the champion himself.

Cameron Davis came from six shots behind going into the final round to win by one stroke on Sunday, shooting a 7-under 64 that included a birdie on the 18th and an eagle after holing a 100-meter approach shot.

The star draw cards - Jason Day and Jordan Spieth - were top 10 finishers, but weren't holding the Stonehaven Cup aloft at the end of the day.

''It's a little bit numb at the moment,'' Davis said. ''I just didn't expect to be in this situation.''

Davis started his round six groups ahead of the final one that included Day. When Davis finished with his 64, he had to wait more than an hour, most of it taken up at the practice range in case there was a playoff.

''I didn't even see a leaderboard before I hit that putt on the last hole,'' Davis said. ''So I made that, and I thought, 'I'll be up around the top'. But to come into the scorers' hut and see where I was at, I was kind of blown away. I had no idea I'd be there.''

Adding to the surprise: Davis lost his card to play on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada this year and before Sunday, had never had a top-10 finish as a professional. And last week he missed the cut in the New South Wales Open.

The 22-year-old Australian finished with an 11-under total of 273 at The Australian Golf Club, where gusty and unpredictable winds made low scoring difficult.

Sweden's Jonas Blixt, who missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th that would have forced a playoff, shot 68 to finish tied for second with Matt Jones (68) while third-round leader Day was fifth after a 73, three strokes behind.

''It was quite a simple putt, maybe a little longer than I would have wanted,'' Blixt said. ''I thought it was a lot quicker than it was.''

Davis, whose eagle came on the 12th hole when he hit his approach about 10 meters past the flag, then watched it spin back and into the cup, also qualified for next July's British Open at Carnoustie.

The Australian Open was the first of 15 events in 10 countries that will make up The Open qualifying series for 2018. Also qualifying were Blixt and Jones, among the top three players not already eligible.

Day double-bogeyed the ninth hole after the most unfortunate of circumstances - his shot out of a fairway bunker hit the lip of the bunker, caromed left across the fairway and into a water hazard. He was making his first tournament appearance in Australia since 2013.

''I just didn't play my best and obviously it's not great to shoot 2-over par on the final round when you've got the lead,'' Day said. ''Cameron came back and played a wonderful round of golf.''

Spieth, attempting to win his third Australian Open in four years, finished with 4-under 67, including an eagle on the last. He was eighth, five strokes behind Davis.

''It was a great finish,'' Spieth said. ''I really felt like I shot 62 today and it was 67, I had so many looks.''

He was non-committal about making another trip Down Under next year.

''I'd love to explore it,'' Spieth said. ''It's just a matter of, like I've said every year, I try and figure out what's going on the next week, let alone a year from now.''

Spieth will play next week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, where tournament host Tiger Woods will make his return to competitive golf.

NOTES: Jones' trip to Carnoustie next year could come with some concern back home. ''I can't wait but I just hope that our baby doesn't come that week. My wife (Melissa) is due at that time, so we will have to see what happens.'' ... Davis will be playing his first major at Carnoustie. But just to bring him back down to earth, he'll head to Arizona next week for the final stage of the Web.com Tour qualifying school.

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