It has been a while since we’ve been this excited about Australian chances at a major golf championship. Could we see a winner at this week’s US Open?
Only two Australians have ever won the US Open, which is two more than have won the US Masters. David Graham won in 1981 and of course, Geoff Ogilvy won in 2006. Ogilvy’s win is nice to have in the minds of the current generation of young Aussie golfers, but it is beginning to feel like a long time ago.
Ogilvy’s victory was expected to push the floodgates open for many more Australian victories at majors. Instead, we’ve had very little to get excited about, aside from this year’s US Masters.
But maybe the (near) success of Jason Day and Adam Scott at the Augusta this year was the floodgates opening, or at least a small break in the dam. One can hardly expect a torrent of victories in majors but we hope for at least one Aussie to cheer for come Sunday afternoon (Monday morning).
So what are the chances of an Australian being in contention at the 2011 US Open?
Well, there are 11 Aussies in the 156 man field this year and will all things being equal, that is about 1 in 14; which isn’t real good. But luckily things aren’t equal and we have a few Australian golfers in some pretty good form right now.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 best Australian chances at this year’s US Open at Congressional.
1. Jason Day
The ‘kid’ is showing great maturity on the golf course. He is battling through his bad holes and posting good scores even when he is not hitting the ball so well. For example, he scraped through the cut line a few weeks ago at the Byron Nelson Classic then posted two low rounds to finish fifth.
A three week lay off after a tiring start to the year will have Day nice and fresh for the tournament.
“I need the time off before the US Open to get me hungry to come back and play good golf. I love playing the game and don’t want to get stale.” Let’s hope he’s starving.
2. John Senden
Form. That’s why Senden is placed above the guy below. John Senden has nine from 16, Top-25’s this year. He is 10th in GIR and 7th in total driving stats. His final few rounds this weekend were poor but I’d love to see Senden in contention on Sunday and think it is only a matter of time before he has a chance to make a huge name for himself.
3. Adam Scott
Long putter, short odds. It makes a nice change to have a confident Adam Scott around the greens and we saw what can happen at Augusta. His form has been off since the US Masters which is a concern, but the performance will be sure to give him the confidence to perform in the big tournaments again.
4. Geoff Ogilvy
Ogilvy’s been by far and away the best Australian performer this decade and as a past winner, he will definitely feature on the weekend. Don’t forget his Sunday rush at the Masters either. He finished in a tie for 4th which has been somewhat forgotten in the shadow of Scott and Day’s heroics.
Ogilvy is the thinking man’s golfer too. He wrote how he approaches each major in a recent article for Golf Digest. It sounds like he is perhaps not the biggest fan of this major but it is nice to know he will be coming prepared.
5. Aaron Baddeley
I’d like to pick the improving Scott Hend or a revived Marc Leishman as the fifth pick but the fact is, they are just too inconsistent. The same goes for Robert Allenby, Greg Chalmers and the slow Nick O’Hern.
Aaron Baddeley is the only other Australian golfer in the US Open field who appears any chance of winning, and it is a good one too.
He has four top-10’s this year including a tie for sixth at the recent Players Championship. He thrives on confidence and a good opening from Badds will give him a great shot at winning.
The eleven Aussies in the 2011 US Open field: Scott Hend, Nick O’Hern, John Senden, Marc Leishman, Greg Chalmers, Robert Allenby, Aaron Baddeley, Scott Barr, Jason Day, Geoff Ogilvy and Adam Scott.
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