Aussie Allan the surprise US Open starter

Steve Allan is among seven Australians in the US Open field, the 47-year-old an improbable starter in his first PGA Tour event in more than two years.

JASON DAY.
JASON DAY. Picture: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

He's the early feel-good story of the US Open, the Aussie battler with his son carrying his bag and charged with filling the giant boots of fallen former world No.1 Jason Day.

While an injured and out-of-form Day is missing from a major championship for the first time in almost a decade after tumbling out of the top 100, veteran compatriot Steve Allan has emerged from golfing obscurity to earn his improbable tee time at Torrey Pines.

A quarter of a century after his best-ever season, the world No.1168 finds himself contesting his first major since missing the cut at the 2010 US Open after earning his start in Monday sectional qualifying.

"Yep, definitely very excited," Allan said.

"Enjoying it. My son (Liam) is caddying for me.

"The rest of the family are going to be out here. My youngest son (Zac) is 10, so he hasn't seen me play in a big tournament like this before."

It's certainly a tale for golfing romantics but we can't call it a rags-to-riches story just yet because, well, Allan is hardly rich.

Making ends meet on the minor tours for more than a decade, the 47-year-old has accrued just $US12,338 ($A16,055) in PGA Tour earnings since 2012 - compared to the $US38.5m ($A50.1m) Day has banked in that same period in prize money alone.

Little wonder Allan isn't getting ahead of himself, making the half-way cut the journeyman's first goal.

"I just want to try and play well. Obviously it's pretty basic, but if you play well, the rest of the stuff takes care of itself," he said after a practice round with more celebrated countryman Mark Leishman on Tuesday.

"That course is long and hard out there, so it will be interesting,

"Keeping the ball in the short grass is going to really help because if you get in the rough you're in a lot of trouble."

Despite his lowly ranking and modest CV, Allan is anything but a novice.

He won the 2002 Australian Open, lost a playoff at the Reno-Tahoe Open on the US PGA Tour two years later and consigned three-time major champion Padraig Harrington to second spot in claiming the 1996 German Open in the biggest victory of his career to date.

But he's definitely the outsider among Australia's seven-strong contingent in San Diego this week.

Leishman, a previous winner and two-time runner-up around Torrey Pines, and Cameron Smith, who teamed with Leishman to take out this year's Zurich Classic PGA teams' event, lead the Australian challenge along with former world No.1 Adam Scott.

Matt Jones, Wade Ormsby and Brad Kennedy round out the Australians in the field.

Leishman and Smith both finished in the top 10 at the Masters before Australia's big guns endured a disappointing PGA Championship last month at Kiawah Island.

Day shared 44th spot, Smith was tied 59th while Leishman and Scott missed the cut.

Smith and Leishman are tipping an Aussie bounce back at Torrey Pines, where gum trees and the Pacific Ocean make them feel right at home.

"There's probably four or five of us that are playing really good golf at the moment," Smith said.

"Let's hope for Australia that we can finally get one home."