Jason Day plays his shot from the tenth tee during a practice round at Shinnecock Hills.
Jason Day plays his shot from the tenth tee during a practice round at Shinnecock Hills.

Aussies set for US Open tilt in New York

JASON Day believes Australia's chances of breaking a 12-year US Open drought are high, with the largest contingent in four years gearing up for Shinnecock Hills this week.

Nine Australians have fought their way into the second major of 2018 via the world rankings and US Open sectional qualifying sites around the world.

It is the largest representation since a whopping 11 Australians teed up at the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst.

World No.8 Day spearheads the charge on Long Island, hoping to be the first Australian to win the US Open since Geoff Ogilvy triumphed at Winged Foot in 2006.

The former world No.1 acknowledged his game is best suited to the US Open, where he has two runner-up results and three other top 10s.

"It tests every part of your game; I enjoy tough conditions because I thrive playing a tough tournament in front of a lot of people," said Day, who has two US PGA Tour wins this year.

"Usually (at US Opens), you hear guys moaning about the setup; you can kind of write people off straight away if they're complaining."

Marc Leishman of Australia.
Marc Leishman of Australia.

While Day, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith were exempt via the rankings, Adam Scott, Aaron Baddeley, Matt Jones, Lucas Herbert, Jason Scrivener and David Bransdon punched their tickets through sectional qualifying across the US, UK and Japan.

The 22-year-old Herbert won his sectional site in Oregon by three shots.

Day, a former US PGA Championship winner, said he would not be surprised to see one of his countrymen emerge victorious at Shinnecock.

"There are a lot of young Aussie players coming out right now," Day said.

"We've got a good group of guys (this week), from an older guy in David Bransdon to Lucas, who is playing some pretty good golf.

"The only thing that we can do is represent Australia as good as we can; try and win."

Cameron Smith is feeling confident.
Cameron Smith is feeling confident.

Day's fellow Queenslander Smith is feeling confident after his first four days practising at the iconic Shinnecock layout.

The 24-year-old Smith tied for fourth at the 2015 US Open and shared fifth place at this year's Masters.

"I think Shinnecock is a course where you have to be really precise with your irons and have a razor-sharp short game, so that is right up my alley," Smith said.

"I'm really starting to feel confident at the majors and feel I can contend this week on a really tough course which suits me."