Aussies at Royal Lytham & St Annes
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2012 The Open Championship | Preview | 16 Jul 2012
Despite the withdrawal of Jason Day for personal reasons, fourteen Australasians will line up at Royal Lytham & St Annes for this week’s Open Championship and one or two might fancy their chances of contending to the very death.
iseekgolf.com’s Bruce Young takes a look at those who have played their way into the field and assesses their prospects.
Scott has played very well this season but his chances of contending in recent starts have been bought undone by poor opening rounds. At both the US Open and the AT&T National he played the final 54 holes better than most of the field and if he can make a better start this week then he is in with an outside chance. His best at an Open Championship came in 2006 when 8th so his record is not great and he does have the weight of major championship expectation on him but he is playing well at present and seems to have a growing self confidence in his chances.
For a player of his class Ogilvy has generally been very disappointing at Open Championships. Just two cuts made in nine starts is hardly enough to get excited about his chances this year. The style of golf should, in theory, suit him given his background on links style golf courses in Melbourne but apart from his 5th at St Andrews in 2005 that has not been the case. He is playing well enough in 2012 however and after a break of a month from tournament golf he might just be recharged enough to contend.
Like Ogilvy, Senden has had a lengthy break since his 10th place finish at the US Open, returning to play so well last week at the John Deere. He finished 4th there after getting within one of the lead late in his final round. His effort at the US Open will have given him great self belief, an area that has held him back in the past. In five Open appearances he has a best of 35th but Senden is a significantly improved golfer in 2012 and seems likely to at least better his previous best.
Baddeley has a poor record at the Open Championship and it is hard to see it getting much better this week. A missed cut last week, albeit a narrow one, at the Scottish Open has not helped his cause. On that basis alone despite the classy player he is, it is difficult to see a good week from him.
Leishman’s recent breakthrough win in the US takes him to a new level in world golf. He has played the Open Championship once previously and made the cut although finished well back. The highly talented Victorian was bought up on a diet of links and links style courses in that part of Australia and should not be fazed by the style of course he will face this week. If he was to finish as the leading Australian, few would be surprised.
Fraser has played well on the European Tour of late including when runner-up at the BMW International in Germany. Surprisingly, for a player who has been on the European Tour since 2003, this will be just his third Open Championship, his 35th place finish in 2006 the only cut he has made. Good player in reasonable form but this field this is likely to be a bit rich for him.
Allenby has slipped a long way in the rankings and on current form it is hard to imagine him doing well. He has missed his last five cuts in tournaments in the US and in Scotland last week. This will be Allenby’s 20th consecutive Open Championship where he has a best of 7th in 2007. He is therefore the most experienced of the Australians in the field but his current form is a concern.
Chalmers plays his second Open Championship but his first since 1998 having earned his place in the field by topping the 2011 Australasian Order of Merit. Chalmers has been solid if unspectacular this season on the PGA Tour but has a penchant for playing well on links style courses having won two Australian Opens on courses that could be considered of that style. Has a chance to be leading Australian but not a lot more.
Jones will play his third Open Championship after qualifying via the Japan Tour money list. He made the cut on one of the two previous occasions but a lack of experience in the event might count against him. Two starts ago Jones missed the cut at the US Open and has not played a tournament for nearly a month.
Kennedy played the Open for the first time last year after qualifying via the Japan Tour. He missed the cut then but since has won the New Zealand Open and the Gateway to the Mizuno Open in Japan. He has again done well to make the field and will be better for last year’s experience but it is hard to imagine him doing much more than make the cut at best.
Hall has played quite well in the events he has played of late although they have been at a far lower level to that he faces this week. He gained his start via the International Final Qualifying in Australia and will be better for what promises to be a great experience for him.
Cullen qualified via International Final Qualifying in Melbourne. He has played well in 2012, winning the Indonesian Open and producing one or two reasonable tournaments in Japan. This is another level again though and he will be better for having played the event for the first time.
Townsend gained his place via International Final Qualifying and has done well to get a start. He has not played a lot of competitive golf at anywhere near this level in 2012 and like one or two others will be much better for the experience.
New Zealander Alker earned his way into the field via local qualifying and given his more recent form worldwide he has done very well just to be teeing it up. His game is built around the style of golf required to do well on links golf courses but other than a 4th place finish on the Nationwide Tour earlier this season it is so long so long since has been in contention in a regular tournament it is hard to imagine him doing well.
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