Perez returned to tournament golf after six month break making the cut and then playing well over the weekend at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, then finishing a very respectable 7th in Las Vegas last week.
“I still looked at it as a break,” said Perez recently referring to his enforced time away from the game as he recovered from his injury. “Once you know that you're not going to play the FedEx, I knew that it was at least going to be until now, and if I wasn't ready to go now, I would wait until Hawaii.
“I didn't really have this thought of where the light would come, but I just -- first I had to hit a shot first. The first shot I hit was like 40 yards with my L-wedge, and I didn't know what was going to happen because once you make contact with that ground, it's all up in the air. I hit one, I go, that feels pretty good, and then after about a few weeks I was able to hit like a half driver, so I was hitting it about 210.
“Then I started to work with some other clubs, and I started to get healthier and stronger, and I started working out more. After about another month and a half, I was about -- pretty close to full steam. I thought, God, if I can get that spot in Malaysia, I think I'm going to go, because that would be a perfect start. It's four days, and it counts in my four days on my medical and stuff. I can decide then if I want to continue. And I played pretty good. The first day I was rusty, really rusty.
“I was kind of nervous. I hit some bad shots, but I shot 67 the next day, and I got here and told Drew, I'm a little nervous. He goes, what are you nervous for? I go, well, it's different. Every day coming back from it -- I've never had such a long break. But once I got going, I was really confident in my game. We've done a lot of work, like I said, and I've got a lot of confidence in what I'm doing right now, so I feel great.”
Perez was well placed after 36 holes this week but his third round of 62 had him one behind long-time leader of the event, Gary Woodland, and today effectively won the tournament with an opening nine of 31.
Perhaps understandably he played with the weight of expectation over the closing nine but did enough to win by two over Woodland with Scotland’s Russell Knox another shot back in 3rd position.
21 year old New South Welshman, Cameron Davis, playing in just his second event as a professional and in his very first PGA Tour event, finished a very impressive 15th and led the Australians.
On a golf course where he won the individual title at the recent Eisenhower Trophy and was part of the successful Australian team in that event, Davis has every reason to be proud of his first attempt at this level and now, as a professional, will secure a nice cheque of some US$90,000 to assist in the early stages of his professional career.
Davis will play the Australian open next week in his hometown of Sydney but it is clear this is one of the new wave of young Australians, including Brett Coletta and Curtis Luck, who appear likely to fly the Australian flag with success in future years.
Marc Leishman was the next best of the Australians when he finished in 24th position.
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