Lower comps still have Aussies battling for golf glory

JASON Day's world of multi-million dollar paydays is a universe away from the one inhabited by countless other Aussies who spend their weeks eking out a living in pro-ams and minor tournaments across the country.

Players like 39-year-old Steven Jeffress, who is ranked No.674 in the world and has spent more than 15 years hoping for that big payday that would change his life.

That could come this week for Jeffress who will tee off with some of the biggest names in the game in the $A7.1 million Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews in Scotland.

The Gold Coast-based battler earned his shot at the tournament by winning last year's Fiji International - a memorable victory that earned him $193,000 in prizemoney, enough to pay off a chunk of his mortgage.

Jeffress said he was really looking forward to taking on players such as major winners Martin Kaymer, Stewart Cink, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Charl Schwartzel.

He was also hoping for a bit of wind, similar to what he experienced in Fiji.

"If it blows, great, because I rate myself in the wind with the shots I can play," he told APN. "The cold is another thing though - if it's near zero degrees, it'll be hard to hold the golf clubs, so I hope it doesn't get too cold.

"I was at the Alfred Dunhill in 2009 and it was all new and exciting to me then. This time though, I'm hoping to do well."

Jeffress (pictured) said he believed he was playing as well as he had at any time in his career, a tie for fifth in the Korean Open among recent results.

"I'm probably playing better golf now than I did 10 years ago," he said. "I can't pound the ball like I used to but I'm playing smarter."

Jeffress said his win in Fiji was undoubtedly the highlight of his career, "especially when you consider a lot of good golfers can go an entire career without winning a big tournament".

He also said he was looking forward to defending his title in two weeks time.

"Earning good money from getting big wins is a great relief, but it's actually made me more aggressive," he said. "I want to win more tournaments now."



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