Unlike last year, in his first Open as a professional and up against superstars like Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, there'll be no flying under the radar when Davis tees off among the favourites on Thursday.

The 23-year-old arrived at The Lakes for Wednesday's pro-am full of confidence after a breakout season in 2018 that featured a commendable tie for 39th on his major championship debut at The Open Championship in July.

The Sydneysider also won on the second-tier Web.com Tour in May, a victory that helped earn Davis his 2019 PGA Tour card.

"I'm definitely better prepared for this tournament than I was last year," Davis said.

"Last year I had just come off a missed cut from the NSW Open and things were actually pretty gloomy and I'd had a pretty rough year in Canada in my first overseas year as a pro.

"So this year I've got a bit more behind me to get me through some tough situations, if I come across them."

As he fully expects to.

RIGHT: Davis kisses the Stonehaven Cup at The Australian last year. PHOTO: William West/AFP/Getty Images.

"It's going to be a battle out there," Davis said.

"A lot of itโ€™s going to come down to luck this week so I'm very understanding of the fact that even if you play very well, with the winds being gusty and as strong as it may be, it just might not happen.

"But I've been playing relatively well and even just yesterday hitting some balls around the golf course, I was feeling pretty good.

"I know if I keep my head in a good place and play the golf that I'm capable of, I feel like I'll have a chance."

Davis will open his title defence just after midday on Thursday, playing alongside American Matt Kuchar, the top-ranked player in the field at World No.29, and Mexican Abraham Ancer.

"I'd love to get my hands on the trophy again. It was a good feeling last year."

The last player to successfully defend the Stonehaven Cup was Peter Lonard in 2004.

- Darren Walton, Australian Associated Press