Struggling Day hopes Australian Open gives him a lift

Sydney (AFP) –


Former world number one Jason Day said Thursday he will take another crack at winning his maiden Australian Open this year, hoping to find form on home soil after a slide down the rankings.

Day has plunged to 23 in the world after a US PGA Tour season in which the Australian's best result was tied fourth at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

In majors, his only top 20 finish saw him tied for fifth at the US Masters in April.

"It's the tournament we all grew up watching and I've said before that I want to win a few of them, so there's no better time to start than December," Day said of the event that will be played at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney for a record 21st time.

The last time he played the Australian Open in 2017 at the same Sydney venue, Day held the lead after 54 holes before finishing fifth.

"I nearly got one at The Australian a couple of years ago and it's a course that really sets up well for me," said the 2015 US PGA Champion.

"There is something about playing our national open that gives me a lift," he added.

That near-miss at the season-ending event proved to be a springboard into 2018, when he went on to win twice on the US PGA Tour.

Countrymen Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith are also confirmed starters at the tournament from December 5-8, which is played a week before Melbourne hosts the Presidents Cup between the USA and International teams.

Organisers are hoping some of the players for that event will also sign up for the Australian Open, which was won last year by Mexico's Abraham Ancer who has already qualified to play for the International team.