Eight Australian will head to a dry, fast-running Carnoustie this week for the 147th Open Championship.
An eight-man contingent of Australian golfers will tee it up in the 156-man Open championship this week at Carnoustie Golf Links. Commonly thought of as the toughest golf course on The Open Championship rota, Carnoustie is already baked out in the largely rain-free Scottish that has already seen drives in excess of 400-yards.
Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Adam Scott once again lead the Australians into a major with several making their major debut.
Cameron Davis and Lucas Herbert head to Carnoustie for their first-ever taste of Open Championship golf and they will be joined by Matt Jones, Brett Rumford and Cameron Smith.
Perhaps not surprisingly Jason Day has a much better record at the majors in the US than The Open Championship. Day’s copped the bad side of the draw a couple of times but his one top-5 finish came when he took a share of the lead into the final round only to finish a shot out of the playoff that saw Zach Johnson beat Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman.
Day’s form has been inconsistent; a missed cut at the US Open and a win are part of his last five tournaments. But since when did Jason Day ever need good form to win a big golf tournament?
Marc Leishman has been the leading Aussie in the last three of five majors and has three top-10’s in his last three starts at The Open, including that heart-breaking playoff loss (thanks to a nasty divot) in 2015 at St Andrews. Leishman will be primed for this one and if he gets his irons dialed in, look out.
Adam Scott is now 82nd in the world. Staggering for someone of his talent, his swing and with a green jacket in the cupboard. But although it’s easy to pin his troubles on the putter, Scott’s wayward driver isn’t exactly helping either. Luckily driver won’t be used much this week, and few people strike their irons better than Scott once they get going. And this is definitely a ball striker’s golf course.
We love that Scotty has Nick Faldo’s old caddie Fanny Sunesson on the bag this week. But picking Scotty for a win would be using our hearts instead of our heads. But just like when we tip against our footy team but they win, we couldn’t be happier if Scotty proves us wrong at Carnoustie.
Talk about inconsistency. Matt Jones has four missed cuts in his last eight starts but has three top-25s in there too. Jones is ranked at 156th for both putting and approach shot stats on the PGA Tour which doesn’t bode well at Carnoustie. Approach shots in particular will be vital but he hasn’t missed the cut in his three appearances at The Open.
After a great start to the year including a top-5 finish for Cameron Smith at Augusta, things have been a little lean for the 24-year-old missing the cut in four of his last five starts. But things are looking up for Smith. His game at the Scottish Open looked really solid and he may surprise people this week in his second crack at the Open Championship.
Big-hitting Cameron Davis earned his spot in his first-ever major by winning last year’s Emirates Australian Open, and got himself as high as 101st in the world after a win on the Web.com Tour in May. Since then results haven’t been great but would have been studying the intricacies of Carnoustie for many months now. Davis has a good result at The Open in him if he can resist the temptation to pull out driver too often this week.
Brett Rumford returns to major golf for his sixth crack at The Open after winning the Australasian Order of Merit. We always thought Rumford would give The Open a shake one year after at solid performance at Royal Liverpool in 2006. But the Western Australian has only made the field in three more Opens, missing the cut in two of them. Two consecutive MCs including last week’s Scottish Open won’t help the confidence but there are few players in the field we’d like to see win more than Rumford.
Lucas Herbert nearly grabbed a spot in The Open at the 2018 Emirates Australian Open after a superb sixth-place finish. But intent on playing in at Carnoustie, Herbert smashed through Open qualifying to grab a spot in the field.