'What a night': Aussie underdogs stun the world on global stage

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·Sports Editor
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Cam Davis, Ben O'Connor and Lucas Herbert, pictured here after triumphing for Australia.
Cam Davis, Ben O'Connor and Lucas Herbert all triumphed for Australia within hours of each other. Image: Getty

Ben O'Connor, Lucas Herbert and Cam Davis are the toast of Australian sport after the former won the ninth stage of the Tour de France on Sunday, before Herbert won the Irish Open golf event and Davis the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

O'Connor is suddenly in Tour de France podium contention after sensationally winning stage nine, claiming the biggest victory of his professional career.

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The 25-year-old debutant moved to second overall in the general classification after eventually finishing the gruelling 145km stage from Cluses to Tignes in the northern Alps more than five minutes ahead of Italian Mattia Cattaneo.

The West Australian of the AG2R Citroen team is now just two minutes, 01 seconds behind defending champion Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), who used a late attack to strengthen his advantage in the yellow jersey.

O'Connor - who also won a 2020 Giro d'Italia stage - began the day eight minutes, 13 seconds behind the yellow jersey leader in 14th.

He was part of an early breakaway group before he raced away from Sergio Higuita still with 17km of the final climb up to Tignes left, eventually finishing ahead of Cattaneo (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and fellow Italian Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious).

"It's been a wild ride. It's mind-blowing," O'Connor told reporters.

"It is what you dream of. There is so much joy. I am just loving every single moment."

It marks only the second time an Australian has won a Tour de France mountain stage after Simon Gerrans was victorious on stage 15 back in 2008.

Ben O'Connor in action during the ninth stage of the Tour de France. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
Ben O'Connor in action during the ninth stage of the Tour de France. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Aussie golfers make it an incredible 24 hours

If it already wasn't an incredible day for Australian sport, golfers Herbert and Davis made it even more so.

Herbert won his second European Tour title after claiming a wire to wire Irish Open victory by three strokes.

The Aussie carded a final round four under par 68 to hold out nearest rivals Swede Rikard Karlberg and American Johannes Veerman respectively.

The victory earned Herbert a place in the British Open at Royal St George's from July 15-18 along with Karlberg and Veerman.

Herbert came into the final round at the Mount Juliet Estate holding a one shot advantage over Veerman and the 25-year-old started strongly, firing birdies at the second and third holes.

Cam Davis, pictured here after winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
Cam Davis celebrates after winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

He shook off the disappointment of a bogey on the fifth before making another birdie immediately after the turn and two more at the 15th and 17th holes completed the job.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Herbert, who marked his second European Tour title since claiming the Dubai Desert Classic in January 2020.

And less than an hour later, Davis burst from the pack to complete a golden weekend treble for Australian golf with a thrilling maiden US PGA Tour victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

Davis finished eagle-birdie in a spectacular final-round 67 to force a three-man sudden-death playoff at 18 under.

He then triumphed from third-round co-leaders Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann - who both closed with 68s - after five extra holes.

"It's been pretty hectic ever since the 17th hole for me," Davis said after breaking through in his 71st US PA Tour event.

Herbert and Davis' breakthrough triumphs also followed Saturday's Ladies European Tour win in the Netherlands for fellow Australian Steph Kyriacou.

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with AAP

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