Cameron Davis came from six shots behind going into the final round to win the Australian Open 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 22-year-old Australian finished with an 11-under total of 273 at The Australian Golf Club, where gusty and unpredictable afternoon winds made scoring tough for all four rounds.
“I didn’t know where I was, to be honest, after the third round,” Davis said of his six-stroke deficit. “I’m just glad I did enough today to get the job done.”
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 Jason 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 of the missed birdie chance. “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 got those shots back with an eagle on the 14th.
Day 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 today to win … so he’s obviously got a lot to look forward to next year, getting into the Open Championship and all that stuff as well.”
Jordan 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 felt like I hit a lot of really beautiful shots that weren’t necessarily rewarded today based on just trying to judge the crosswinds. That’s all it was today. I really felt like I shot 62 today and it was 67, I had so many looks.”
Spieth was non-committal about making another trip Down Under for next year’s Australian Open. “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.