Aussie assault begins at Hazeltine
BY Anthony Powter | US PGA Tour | 2009 US PGA Championship | General | 13 Aug 2009
A thirteen strong Australian contingent has one last shot at a major title in 2009 when play gets underway tomorrow at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, for the 91st US PGA Championship.
The Aussies will be spearheaded by world number eight, Geoff Ogilvy, and they will face the longest course in the event’s 91 years, a whooping 7,674 yards should tournament officials set the course from the back markers.
This morning Geoff Ogilvy looked relaxed and at ease playing Hazeltine, studying the contours of the greens with good mate Mathew Goggin.
Ogilvy has not missed a cut in six starts at the US PGA Championship and has won twice this season on the PGA Tour with the Mercedes-Benz Championship and the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. With fourteen cuts made from fifteen starts this season, you would expect Ogilvy to figure across the next four days of this event.
The last Australian to claim the US PGA Championship was Steve Elkington in 1995, who lines up at the event for the 17th time. At Baltusrol Golf Club in 2005, Elkington finished runner-up to Phil Mickelson, yet this year on the PGA Tour has only made the cut eight times from seventeen starts.
Prior to Elkington, Australians have won the title just three times. Wayne Grady in 1990, David Graham in 1979 and Jim Ferrier, the first Australian to win a major title in 1947.
Allenby will tee off at 8:05am on Thursday and brings plenty of confidence following his performance last week at the Bridgestone Invitational where the world number 30 tied for second with Irishman Padraig Harrington behind winner Tiger Woods.
Allenby finished in a tie for tenth at the US PGA Championship when it was last held at Hazeltine in 2002.
Michael Sim, 24, is the youngest of the Australians playing this week and will make his debut at the event.
It has been an impressive year for Sim with two Nationwide Tour wins to be one win away for an immediate “Battlefield” promotion to the PGA Tour. The Western Australian also cracked the world top 100 and in the process is the only Nationwide Tour player to do so.
Last month Sim played in his first Major Championship at the US Open, finishing a solid tie for 16th.
Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Aaron Baddeley, Steve Elkington, Mathew Goggin, Nathan Green, Richard Green, Brendan Jones, Geoff Ogilvy, Rod Pampling, Adam Scott, John Senden and Michael Sim are amongst the record-equalling 98 players from the world’s top 100 competing at Hazeltine.
With Allenby, Sim, Ogilvy and Goggin in some of the best form of the season, surely an Aussie will have to figure in this tournament come Sunday.