In his own words, Jason Day is eyeing sporting immortality at the British Open on Monday.
Day will enter the final round in a three-way share of the lead in his quest to join some of the legends of the game as an Open champion after carving out a flawless five-under-par 67 in Sunday’s third round at St Andrews.
No Australian has won the golf’s greatest prize since Greg Norman in 1993, but Day, at 12 under, and Adam Scott (70) and Marc Leishman (64), both three behind, have huge opportunities.
“I always wanted to be the first Aussie to win the Masters, but Scotty beat me to it,” Day said.
“Since we haven’t had an Aussie win the Claret Jug since Mr Norman, it would be nice to put my name on the Jug.
“We’re just trying to chase that bit of immortality. That’s probably the best way to put it – just that you’re stuck in history at that moment.
“You know that that year, that person’s name on that Jug is immortal in some way.
“That little piece of immortality and glory that comes along with winning the Claret Jug at the home of golf at St Andrews, it would be an unbelievable piece of experience that no one could ever take away from you.”
Scott is only three off the pace in a nine-way share of sixth position.
But with so many big names – including major winners Padraig Harrington (-10), Retief Goosen (-9), Zach Johnson (-9), Justin Rose (-9) and two-time runner-up Sergio Garcia (-9) – also on the star-studded leaderboard, the former world No.1 knows he must shoot a low number in the first Monday finish to the Open since 1988.
“It’s super bunched, so it’s really going to be a shootout tomorrow,” Scott said.
“This course is soft and it’s taking on a lot of good scores, so it’s surprising the leaders didn’t really get it going today.
“But that’s the pressure of The Open, so I’m happy with that. I’m still in the mix and I’ve got to go out and get off to a quick start and kind of put myself on level peggings with them.”
Leishman is also dreaming of Open glory after carding his lowest round at a major – and the best of the Open so far – to be alongside Scott at nine under.
“It obviously means a lot to everyone, people from over here, from the UK and Australians, we grew up watching Greg Norman win The Open Championship,” he said.
“I take a lot of good things from last year. I shot I think 65 in the last round last year, and obviously Rory ran away with it, but when I needed to make birdies, I was able to make a few.
“So you take some confidence away from that, hitting good shots under pressure.”
Steven Bowditch, at eight under after a 69, is also in the hunt, while Greg Chalmers and Matt Jones are long-shot chances after moving to six under with a pair of 69s.
Marcus Fraser (68) and Geoff Ogilvy (70) are five under and eyeing a big finish too, with John Senden (68) at four under and Brett Rumford (71) at three under also well placed for a big pay day.