Aussie Davis peaking at right time for Final Stage
December 05, 2017
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Aussie Cameron Davis enters Final Stage hot off the heels of winning the Australian Open. (Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)
Australian Cameron Davis picked a great time to notch his first-ever professional victory.
The 22-year-old had a decorated amateur career in his home country, including winning the 2015 Australian Amateur and was runner-up in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in the same year.
He was primed for stardom – joining the long line of Aussie success stories that include Jason Day, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, and more – especially after he finished tied for 15th in his PGA TOUR debut at the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
But as is the case with golf, things became unpredictable after his breakout result. There was a stretch where he didn’t play tournament golf for nearly six months.
However, he earned status on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada for 2017, and just a few weeks ago he finally got the monkey off his back, winning the Emirates Australian Open. He nipped Day by three shots and Jordan Spieth by five after firing a final-round 7-under-par 64.
“It was a good (win) to have,” said Davis with a laugh.
The tournament was one he watched in person as a kid – being from nearby Sydney – and played the last couple years thanks to a relationship he has with the PGA of Australia.
“I’m just glad there is stuff to remind me that I did in fact do it,” he explains, still somewhat shocked.
The win for Davis came at a positive time on his schedule.
After struggling on the Mackenzie Tour in 2017, finishing 76th on the money list to lose his card after making just five of 11 cuts, he went to Q-School with big hopes but small expectations.
He made it through First Stage comfortably, and fired a 7-under-par 65 in his final round at Second Stage in California to end up in a tie for second there.
“I was still on the driving range and was told that I had won, and pretty much straight away I started to think that it was great to be playing well. I couldn’t believe I won (the Australian Open), but I better make sure I got back down to normal because I needed to play well and prepare for Web.com Tour Final Stage,” he says.
“The ultimate goal is to get on the PGA TOUR. I’ve got an awesome opportunity to get to the level just below that. Since (the win) I’ve been doing everything I can to get back to doing everything I need to do to play well so then I can give it my best shot.”
Davis, who now lives in Seattle, says after his strong amateur career he thought it was going to smooth sailing from his result at the OHL Classic two years ago to the Web.com Tour and eventually the PGA TOUR.
“I got a bit of a rude shock when all of a sudden I didn’t have any status anywhere,” he says. “I didn’t play any tournament golf for about six months, which drove me a little crazy.”
Davis ended up earning Mackenzie Tour status via one of the Q-School sites in Canada earlier this year, but admits he just wasn’t in the best headspace or in the best form throughout the year.
“To come into a Tour full of world-class players, I was probably not in the best place mentally or form-wise to complete and win tournaments. It was tough, but I learned so much out there,” explains Davis.
“Even though I didn’t keep my card, to sit down with my coach and work on everything I could have done better and improved on… it was gold for me. All those things I couldn’t have learned as an amateur.”
The key for the young Aussie, he says, was how much he learned away from the golf course in 2017. He managed his body differently, he travelled around Canada – nearly 2 million square miles larger than Australia – all year. After a year’s worth of instruction from his coaches, it finally sunk in what he needed to do away from the course.
“I took those things and ran with it,” he says. “Since the (Mackenzie) Tour ended I started playing really well. A little frustrating that I couldn’t have done it all year but I’m just glad I’m peaking at a good time. The plan was to play really good and get on the Web.com Tour, and I’ve still got a really good opportunity to do that.”
Although Davis says he’s been to Arizona just a couple of times, he knows what the weather will be like at Final Stage, and how to adjust for how far the ball will fly. He says he’ll take a similar approach into Final Stage as he did for the Australian Open, and hope for the same result.
“When you’re in the tournament you want to aim as high as you can, but if you aim to win and don’t play that great, hopefully it leaves you in a good position. If you’re just playing to keep your card, your worst golf may not be as good and you may get more nervous too,” he explains. “I’ll treat it like any other tournament and really just play as present as I can. Whatever happens, happens.”
And if he truly treats it like the Australian Open, it may not be such a bad time for his second professional victory either.