Young: Day Shoulders Aussie Hopes at PGA

Day is seeking a repeat of his 2015 PGA Championship fortunes.
Five Australians and one New Zealander will tee it up in the final men's major championship of 2018 this week but they won't all be harbouring hopes of hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy.

Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott, Cameron Smith and little-known club pro Craig Hocknull will fly the Australian flag at the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri and they'll be joined by big-hitting Kiwi Ryan Fox.

Among them, only Hocknull is playing the $10.5 million event for the first occasion. 

Papua New Guinea-born but Adelaide-raised, Hocknull is now a highly regarded teaching professional in Arizona and managed to play his way into the event by finishing well at the PGA Teaching Professional Championship earlier this year.

He has played a PGA Tour event previously having teed it up at last year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open but this is by far the biggest stage on which he has competed.

Day is, of course, the 2015 PGA Champion and was runner-up in 2016.

The 30-year-old, who was in the mix throughout last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational before finishing 10th, is certainly playing well enough to win his second major championship this week. 

Leishman has been neither good nor bad in recent weeks and will play his 8th PGA Championship. He has the patient and unflappable demeanour necessary for majors and his chances of a breakthrough are not forlorn.

Scott has not played badly in recent months but just does not appear to be playing well enough to be considered among the title contenders.

Smith’s game appears to be improving after a series of indifferent efforts through the middle of the year and his 23rd placing last week in Akron was an encouraging week. The Queenslander showed a capacity to handle this level when 5th at the Masters in April and plays his third PGA Championship.

Fox has played beautifully in European Tour events of late and continues to build towards the elite of the game. It is perhaps a bit much to expect him to contend this week but there will be a time when he will. It will be Fox's second appearance at the PGA Championship having finished 54th last year.


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