Richard W Rodriguez

Day aims to play at Coolum

SHOOTING star Jason Day is committed to playing the big Australian tournaments for the first time in his pro career, including the Australian PGA Championships at Coolum in November.

Aged 23 and ranked world No. 23, Day is in adopted hometown Dallas, Texas this week as defending champion at the Byron Nelson Championship – the breakthrough victory that’s taken his game to a new level in the past year.

He’s already all but assured of a spot on Greg Norman’s Presidents Cup Internationals team to play the United States at Royal Melbourne from November 17-20.

But he also wanted to play the Australian Open at The Lakes (Nov 10-13) and Australian PGA Championship (Nov 24-27) after injury, illness or US tour qualifying school kept him away in the past.

“I am going home if I make the Presidents Cup team or not,” Day said yesterday.

“My plan is to play in Australia, probably at the Australian Open and Australian PGA, which are either side of the Presidents Cup,” said Day.

“It would be a great honour to play for the international side in Australia as I haven’t played an event as a professional down there, ever.

“I really want to play back home. I am not trying to avoid Australian golf. It just hasn’t worked out.

“I really want to win the Australian Open. I want it on my resume. It’s my national open and I’m excited about having the chance to finally do it.”

Day said his maiden US PGA Tour victory at the Byron Nelson 12 months ago was a career watershed for him.

“This was a platform to the next level for me,” said Day, who tied for second at the Masters with compatriot Adam Scott in April.

Along with that confidence-building victory, Day said he had benefited from an improvement in his health, following surgery after struggles with sinus problems, and from work with his mental coach, Australian Neil Smith, to put “more structure” in his game.

His rate of improvement is there for all to see.

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