Small but fierce Aussie Masters tilt ready

Ben Everill
·3-min read

Jason Day senses the four Australian professionals in the Masters field are poised to recreate a 2013-like scenario that ended in the country's first green jacket win.

Joining Day at the unique November Masters at Augusta National are 2013 champion Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith as well as amateur Lukas Michel.

Day has yet to see Michel play so could not judge the 25-year-old's chances, but was confident in those who join him each week on the PGA Tour.

In 2013, only four Australians qualified for the Masters - Scott, Day, Leishman and John Senden. All four spent time near or in the lead throughout the week.

History shows the three who return this week had chances to win in 2013 with Day leading by two shots with three holes to play only to falter late and finish third.

Leishman's run came up short in Raes creek on the back nine and he settled for fourth as Scott finished with a flourish to make a playoff and outlast Angel Cabrera to break Australia's 79-year Masters hoodoo.

"There might only be four of us who play on the PGA Tour here but we are all capable of winning if we play our best and there is no reason to suggest we can't do that and push each other on," Day told AAP.

"It's time for us to get up there again. Scotty and I had a great chance last year after two rounds but it got away from us. This year will hopefully be different."

Joint runner-up on debut in 2011, Day has always gone hell for leather chasing Masters glory but this time around he's vowed to play smarter, not harder, to reach his green jacket dream.

Having squandered the 36-hole lead in 2019 and with his other near misses in 2016, 2013 and 2011, the former world No.1 knows his game can win.

But that something small has been missing. So he spent the last 19 months soliciting advice from proven winners like Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth.

"I need to not be as aggressive as I have been in the past," Day said.

"When I play a little more conservative route around Augusta I have created more opportunities so that's the key,.

"I won't take on certain shots and holes and pins because I've figured out you don't have to do a lot around there to be in contention.

"There are more opportunities out there if you play smart. I've looked into the stats to formulate a game plan and I've asked a lot of people a lot of advice to figure out where I want to take my risks and where I am going to play smart."

Standing in the way of an Australian victory are the likes of US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, world No.1 Dustin Johnson and major championship specialist Brooks Koepka.

Woods defends his famous 15th major championship win from 19 months ago.