Australia’s Jason Day says he can’t afford to let the pressure of expectation burden him as he seeks his first home win in golf’s World Cup on Sunday.
Australia’s Jason Day will be trying to ignore what he’s playing for as he chases his first professional win on home soil in front of his grieving mother in golf’s World Cup on Sunday.
Day will enter the final round at Royal Melbourne with a one-shot lead, after shooting a superb five-under-par 66 on Saturday to move to nine under, one shot clear of Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn.
Combined with Adam Scott, who is on two under, Australia also lead the team event, with the duo’s 11-under total one ahead of the United States.
Day has one career win on the US PGA Tour and another on the US second-tier tour and showed his class with three top-10 finishes in majors this year, including two top three finishes.
But he’s never won in Australia.
He said helping Australia win the World Cup for the first time since 1989 and beating a strong individual field on the famed Royal Melbourne lay-out would be a phenomenal way to break his duck.
“For it to be my first win would be amazing, it would be a complete honour,” Day said.
But the 26-year-old added he has a history of burdening himself with high expectations and doesn’t want to get carried away.
“I’ve got to go out there and play golf and not think about it,” Day told reporters.
“I really want to play well in front of the home crowd but I really can’t put too much expectation on myself.
“If I do that, I’m just going to play my way out of the tournament.”
He can expect plenty of home support, with large galleries having cheered on him and Scott throughout the event.
Also in the crowd will be his mother, two sisters, a nephew and some close friends.
The family are grieving the loss of Day’s grandmother, an uncle and six cousins in Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, where Day’s mother was born.
Day’s mother and sisters flew in from Brisbane late on Friday night and watched him on Saturday.
Day, who lives in the United States with his wife and young son, reunited with his mother on Saturday morning for the first time since the tragedy and prepared for his round with a home-cooked meal.
“She makes this special chicken, we call it salty chicken, it’s pretty much a heart attack in a box … it was good to see her,” he said.