The Australian Open tees off in Sydney this week with the world number one a clear favourite.
There is no doubt Jordan Spieth goes into this as the outright favourite. Spieth’s final round at The Australian last year was phenomenal in the conditions and he went on to win two majors in 2015, and finished 2nd and 4th in the other two. Spieth doesn’t do things by halves and he has made it clear he isn’t here for a holiday. Someone else has to get hot to beat him this week.
Halfway through last week’s Australian Masters, Scott was a sure thing to challenge Spieth this week but a wayward driver, combined with a few poor iron shots and now we’re not so sure. Scotty has finished top-5 in the last two Australian Open’s at The Australian. A good first round will ensure he finishes with at least a top-5 again, and maybe another Stonehaven Cup.
Leishman was struggling with his game until The Presidents Cup and since beating Jordan Spieth in the final day singles, the boy from Warrnambool has been superb. This is Leishman’s first Australian Open since 2012 but he should fit right in at The Australian. Big chance.
Now here is someone that loves an Australian Open. Matt Jones has finished top-25 or better in four of his last five Open’s. Take no notice of last year’s missed cut, Jones won’t do that again. His game looks good and combined with some good results in the final two majors of the year, we can see Jones revelling in front of his home crowd this week.
Remarkably, John Senden flew under the radar a bit last week. In Scott’s shadow for the first two rounds, the 2006 Australian Open champion almost stole victory despite his game never reaching any great heights. It’s a sign of a very great player and if Senden starts making early birdies, look out. Can definitely win this week.
Who else can win?
The pick of the internationals behind Spieth is definitely Peter Uilhein. The American’s game top-notch and comes off the back of a solid finish at the DP World Tour Championship last weekend.
Another to fly in from the same tournament is Marcus Fraser. Fraser is having one of his best year’s on the European Tour and has shown some great form of late. Despite some poor results at The Australian in recent years don’t be surprised to see the New South Welshman’s name out the leaderboard on Sunday.
Brett Rumford is another guy who always does well at The Australian Open. Rumford had a share for the lead going into last year’s tournament before Spieth left everyone in his wake. After a horrible year with injury Rumford looks like his game is back in shape.