Oz Open: Scott? Day? McIlroy?
This week’s Emirates Australian Open poses some highly intriguing question, a good few of them involving the nation’s latest favourite golfing sons, Adam Scott and Jason Day.
Still fresh from last week’s triumph at Royal Melbourne Golf Club where Day won the individual honours, Scott finished third and, between the two, they gave Australia a runaway victory in the 2013 ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf, the celebrated pair will each tee off at the Royal Sydney Golf Club this week with some major question marks hanging over their heads.
Can Day reignite the spark that carried him to victory in Victoria last week and whisk up a back-to-back win at the Australian Open in New South Wales just a week later? That’s just one of those questions.
Another, and this one every bit as big as the first, is this.
Can Scott, the World No 2 and current Masters champion, hold on to his winning momentum in the midst of a great month of golf when has set himself up to clinch the Aussie triple crown?
If he pulls it off this will be a rare golfing trifecta achieved only once before by Robert Allenby in 2005.
But can he?
Yes, he did finish very strongly on the final day of the World Cup, it’s true, but there are some who feel his mediocre early rounds at Royal Melbourne where tell-take signs that his dazzling Aussie run is beginning to lose steam.
And talking of losing steam; Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who has gone from World No 1 to No 6 this year and is still without a victory as the year winds down, certainly did.
He is in the field this week and as keen as mustard to end his unhappy year with a win, but in his case, the question being asked is this: Has he built up a sufficiently effective new head of steam to break his year-long drought?
The bookmankers certainly seem to think so.
With odds of around 6/1, they have installed him as this second favourite behind Scott (11/4).
Day is in third place at 15/2, fellow Aussies John Senden fourth at 20/1 and Geoff Ogilvy, a former US Open champion, fifth at 25/1 and Americans Aaron Baddeley and Keven Streelman sixth at around 28/1, Streelman coming into this week’s tournament fresh from the World Cup of golf where he and Matt Kuchar earned the United States second place behind Australia.
Royal Sydney Golf Club is a Par 72 course measuring a not overly-long 6,938 yards.
The bentgrass greens are firm and fast and can be tricky to read. The fairways are narrow in areas and the bunkers are well placed with several being pretty large in size.
The course is a combination of links style and parkland golf and has been designed if such a way so as to ensure that patience is a virtue and careful game plans an essential.
This is clearly evident when you look at the type of golfers who have won the Aussie Open on this course, Baddeley, Allenby, Tim Clark, Mark Calcavecchia and Gary Player being some of them.
THE BOOKMAKERS’ TOP 20
Here were the top 20 favourites being quoted by Sky Bet on Tuesday morning*.
Adam Scott 11/4
Rory McIlroy 6/1
Jason Day 15/2
John Senden 25/1
Aaron Baddeley 28/1
Kevin Streelman 28/1
Geoff Ogilvy 25/1
Matt Jones 35/1
Greg Chalmers 28/1
Marcus Fraser 33/1
Mathew Goggin 40/1
Robert Allenby 40/1
Stuart Appleby 66/1
Aron Price 50/1
Steven Bowditch 66/
Cameron Percy 70/1
Richard Green 66/1
Nick Cullen 66/1
Peter Senior 66/1
Nick O Hern 80/1
* For all the bookmakers latest odds you should go to Oddschecker.com
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