Wed, Nov 27, 2:21pm by Daryl Curnow
Where: Royal Sydney Golf Club, Sydney, Australia
When: November 28-1 December
Wager with: Ladbrokes.com.au and get $250 for free
AT this rate he’ll be the world’s best golfer before we know it. We’re of course talking about Adam Scott, who is looking to become only the second modern golfer to win the Triple Crown, consisting of the Australian PGA, Masters and Open; the last person to achieve such a feat was Robert Allenby in 2005. Scott is currently ranked number two in the world, behind only Tiger Woods and with the way Scott is currently playing, we can see him becoming the first Australian number one golfer since Greg Norman in 1995. Scott won the Australian PGA comfortably at Royal Pines before capitalising on Matt Kuchar’s double-bogey on the last hole to win the Australia Masters at Royal Melbourne, and he looks a good chance again this week in the Emirates Australian Open.
The Royal Sydney Golf Club first held the Open in 1906 when it was won by their club professional. It was again the host in 2006 when PGA Tour player John Senden birdied his last two holes to win and most recently in 2008 when Tim Clark proved accuracy is more important than distance, defeating Australian Matthew Goggin on the first playoff hole. Among the 12 times Royal Sydney has hosted the event, some big players have etched their name on to the Stonehaven Trophy, including Australia’s Aaron Baddeley, Mark Calcavecchia and Gary Player. First built in 1893, the Royal Sydney club is a traditional course with an onslaught of bunkers to avoid. The Par-72 course is considered one of the tightest and toughest in Australia where accuracy will play a huge part.
Not only will Scott have to be weary of the course, but he’ll have to get past one of the best fields ever assembled for the Australian Open. Among those is Rory McIlory, who is looking for his first win of 2013, but don’t underestimate the Northern Irishman. McIlroy has had a year of distractions that have certainly taken away from his superb golf that he was playing in past seasons. That golf saw him become number one in the world after winning the 2011 U.S Open and the 2012 PGA Championship, but it’s been slim pickings since. Controversy has followed the 24-year-old throughout his career; anything from social media postings to bagging his fellow golfers. McIlroy changed his equipment to Nike which sparked a downfall in his performance and he also split with his girlfriend and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki just after splitting with his management group.
The year has been quiet for McIlroy on the golfing front however with an exhibition win over Tiger Woods at Mission Hills being his highlight. He’s currently paying $7 with Ladbrokes.com.au and if he can play with a steady head, he’s a good chance.
Fresh off an individual and team win in the World Cup of Golf, Jason Day is on the third line of betting at $7.50. Day has always been a golfer who concentrates primarily on the major tournaments and he’ll be looking to win his first Australian Open. With the Philippines tragedy still firmly on his mind – as eight members of his family died including his grandmother – Day has done well to remain focused and he’s got more than enough talent to win this week. His 2013 results have been outstanding with a third place in the U.S masters behind Adam Scott and then he came second in the U.S Open behind Justin Rose, Day’s third runner up finish in a major. For such a quality golfer to have won only once on the PGA Tour, Jason Day plays well when he focuses on one tournament and the Australian Open could well be it.
The next best in the market are all Australians with Baddeley, Ogilvy and Senden all paying $26. Aaron Baddeley was forever known as the ‘best putter on tour’ but the youthful 32-year-old hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since 2011 when he defeated Vijay Singh by two strokes at the Northern Trust Open. He hasn’t been in the limelight since so he’ll need to improve to feature here. Geoff Ogilvy is much of the same; after winning the 2006 U.S Open he has won on four occasions but his last coming in 2010. He has ventured into the business world since and is a partner in Exotic Pebbles & Aggregates in Arizona and also MOJO Pies who sponsor the St Kilda Football Club. Whether or not these ventures have affected his golf we’re not sure, but he needs to improve.
To be honest, we disregarded Kevin Streelman in the World Cup of Golf but he proved he’s good enough to feature on the world stage. The 35-year-old Chicago born golfer has won once on the PGA Tour, which came this year in the Tampa Bay Championship. He’s been marketed quite loosely at $34 which is good value. He’s an accurate golfer who won’t be worried about losing distance off the tee.
It’s a tough decision but we’re jumping off Adam Scott’s back and taking his Australian team mate Jason Day. Day has put in the time to focus on this tournament and win his first professional event on home soil. He played extremely well last week and he’s at good odds.
Kevin Streelman is a good top 10 chance after his solid performance in the World Cup. He’s got plenty of PGA Tour experience and that will be a key to his tournament chances. He’s not overly long but he’s accurate and Royal Sydney is best suited by accuracy.
Our outsiders include Nick Cullen, Matthew Griffin and last year’s winner Peter Senior. Nick Cullen is a good young golfer who has shown up in plenty of Australian tournaments but has never put all four rounds together. He’s got plenty of talent and he could surprise everyone this week.
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