Jason Day has a great record at the PGA playoffs opener. Picture: Getty.
Jason Day has a great record at the PGA playoffs opener. Picture: Getty.

Aussies down in numbers but rich in talent

JASON Day says it's irrelevant that Australia has its smallest-ever contingent in the US PGA Tour playoffs because all are capable of taking out the $13.5 million FedExCup prize.

The quartet of Day, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith is the fewest for Australia since the four-event playoffs series was created in 2007.

But, ranked sixth on the points standings, Day has again given himself a red-hot chance at becoming the first Australian to claim the FedEx Cup crown.

Former world No.1 Day tees off at this week's Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey, buoyed by an astonishingly consistent record at the playoffs opener.

The Queenslander won the 2015 event at nearby Plainfield Country Club and his 10 appearances have yielded five top-six finishes and nine top-25s.

With two US tour victories this year, Day is confident of launching another post-season challenge this week.

"I guess I have always arrived at this event knowing you need to get off to a good start and you have to focus because it's 125 of the best players on the PGA Tour," Day said.

Day is already all but assured of advancing to the playoffs finale; the 30-man Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.

If he can move into the top-five seeds for the finale, he can guarantee the FedEx title if he wins at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club.

"It's crucial to play well this week and propel myself into the top five and then I control my own destiny," Day said.

He was unperturbed by the small number of countrymen who also qualified for the post-season.

"Four Australians, I don't think there is anything to it," he said.

"It's a cyclical thing and this year you have four great players so it's quality over quantity I guess."

Next best of the Australians on the FedEx standings at 22nd is Marc Leishman, who has been paired with two-time FedEx Cup champion Tiger Woods for the first two rounds.

He believes that can help improve his dismal record at the Northern Trust, having made the cut just three times in nine appearances.

"It definitely helps to focus when the crowds are massive, which you get playing with Tiger," Leishman said.

Smith, 53rd on the standings, made his playoffs debut last year but missed the cut at the Northern Trust and failed to progress to the Tour Championship.

He acknowledged there was a lot a stake, given a Tour Championship start guarantees starts at all four major championships next year.

"It's a massive month for me and it all starts here; I really need to play well and get myself to Atlanta," Smith said.

Coming off his third placing at the PGA Championship, Scott sits 73rd on the FedEx standings and won the 2013 playoffs opener at nearby Liberty National.

 

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