Australians at the US Open
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2010 US Open | Preview | 16 Jun 2010
Eleven Australians have earned the right to play this year’s US Open at Pebble Beach and here I take a look at their chances.
Allenby has recently taken over the mantle as Australia’s leading world ranked player and in that regard deserves to be considered amongst the leading Australian chances. The problem however for Allenby is his abysmal record in major championships. In 12 US Open starts he has made only six of twelve starts and has been only once inside the top ten.
A recent missed cut at the Memorial and a forced withdrawal with tonsillitis in Memphis have put a cloud over his chances.
If his significant putting improvement continues he has a chance of a good week but it is hard to get to confident in his chances of contending.
In a late development there is now an injury cloud over Allenby, a wrist injury a potential tournament threatening issue.
Ogilvy plays in the knowledge that he has done it before, his win at Winged Foot four years ago in just his third US Open confirming his status as a world class player and one of only two Australians to win this coveted title. After winning the opening event of the season in Hawaii, Ogilvy’s form dropped away a little although there have been encouraging signs in recent weeks. A final round 64 at the Colonial event and a great opening round at the Memorial gives hope for a good week.
Scott is perhaps the enigma of Australian golf in that he has yet to deliver in major championship golf. He has been an incredibly successful professional golfer however and his recent victory in San Antonio (his 7th official PGA Tour win), secured as a result of a change in his putting technique, gives hope. It has been that department of his game that has let him down at crucial times. In eight US Open starts Scott has never finished better than 21st. I see the chance to better that this week although it would be a surprise, albeit a pleasant one, to see him contending late on Sunday.
Sim finished as the leading Australian in last year’s US Open at Bethpage a performance that was made even more special in that he played the final round with Tiger Woods. Sim is only recently back from injury and in the few events he has played since his form has been reasonable enough. He is a fine young player who in the future will contend for Championships such as this but it is unlikely to be this year.
it is hard to believe that this is only John Senden’s second US Open. He missed the cut in his only start to date in 2004. He possesses the ball striking qualities to do well in a tournament such as this but his wayward putter is often his worst enemy.
He is here as a result of making the Tour Championship in 2009 and deserves his place in the field but if he can’t find putting improvement then his US Open record will not improve.
Leishman is in his second year of the PGA Tour having been named rookie of the year in 2009. This will be the 26 year old’s first US Open and he will be better for the experience. His form has tapered off after a very encouraging start to the 2010 season and it is hard to get too excited about his chances. Like Sim he is one of Australian golf’s future hopes in world golf but it is difficult to see him doing well this week.
Baddeley is playing his fifth US Open and has given genuine signs of an improvement in his game in recent months. He finished third behind Adam Scott in San Antonio and then got the job done at Final Qualifying just to be here.
He led this event into the final round in 2007 before finishing 13th and so has the capacity to play close to the level he needs to have a good week. It would not surprise me if he led the Australians at week’s end
Appleby has done well to make the field after what has been a battle with his game. He showed glimpses of returning to his best in April with one or two solid tournaments but he has now missed his last four cuts. He is here as a result of an impressive two rounds in final qualifying and so has hopes of something better but on a golf course where confidence can easily eroded he might struggle. This will be Appleby’s 14th US Open but with a best of 10th and eight missed cuts to date it is hard to get excited about his chances.
Sheehan will play his first US Open this week which in itself is an achievement. He has battled with his game in the last couple of years, playing mainly on the Japan Golf Tour where earlier this year he had one runner up finish. That aside however it has been a tough time of late. He is here however and many better players are not.
Allan is playing this year without status on any Tour but he managed to head the qualifiers at his final qualifying venue and is playing his fifth US Open. He has made two of four cuts in the event. Allan has played events in Asia in recent months with some encouraging performances and to have made the field suggests his game is on the improve but this is another league altogether.
Pilkadaris made the field as a result of an amazing performance in final qualifying. With the greatest of respect to him it has been a sensational performance just to make this field. The fairytale is unlikely to continue for long however. His form in recent months in events in Europe and Asia has left little to be confident of this week but that he is here is an achievement in itself.
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