The Australasians at Pinehurst No 2
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 US Open | Preview | 09 Jun 2014
Eleven Australians and one New Zealander are starters in Thursday’s US Open at Pinehurst No 2 in Pinehurst in North Carolina.
Given that 10,127 golfers entered the event two months ago, for all who have made it into the select 156 player field they have done well just to tee it up.
I take a look at the prospects of all twelve
This is the major in which Adam Scott has had least success, with a career best of 15th, but there is little doubt that he is now a prospect whenever he tees it up in a major or otherwise. Scott’s record in major championship in recent times has been as good as anyone’s with seven top tens in his last twelve including his breakthrough victory at the Masters. He is playing with such confidence and in such form that he should improve on his previous best of 15th at Olympic Club two years ago.
A record to die for in the US Open having been twice second in just three starts but the issue facing Day is his lack of tournament play of late. He has played only twice since his victory in February at the Accenture Match Play and although he has done well to make the cut at both the Masters and the Memorial in that time it might be that lack of tournament play that will count against him.
Only Jones’ second US Open and in that one in 2009 played only one round before withdrawing. His win in Houston in April took him to a higher level in the game but it is hard to imagine him contending although if he was to make the cut in what is to all intents and purposes his first US Open then it would be a good week.
In many ways has a game to suit the US Open style set ups, a game built around fairways and greens and good ball striking. His short game has improved a lot in recent times earning him victory in Florida earlier in the season and a best ever finish at Augusta National. Senden has put together several reasonable finishes in recent US Opens including a good 10th place finish in 2012 at Olympic.
One of only two Australians to win the US Open but he is some way from the form that saw him take out the title at Winged Foot in 2006. Although there has been the occasional glimpse of form in 2004, his last two starts have seen missed cuts and unfortunately it is hard to get excited about his chances.
Played his way into the field when runner-up at the US Amateur Championship last year. Gave a further indication of his capabilities by being the only amateur to make the cut at the Masters and is a real chance to lead the amateurs again this week. Class player with a big future.
Allenby is playing his 15th US Open making him the most experienced amongst the Australians in terms of the times he has played the event. He has made only half the cuts of those he has played and has recorded only one top ten, that coming when 7th at Shinnecock Hills in 2004. Current form suggests not much improvement on that record.
Baddeley plays his 9th US Open but having missed the cut in his last four and given that he has struggled with his game generally for much of the season, then it is hard to imagine a great week for the Victorian. Just to make this field however via Sectional Qualifying is an achievement in itself.
Another to make it through Sectional Qualifying, Pampling has played reasonably on the Web.Com Tour in 2014 with the occasional start at the higher level of the PGA Tour. He has made three of seven cuts to date n this event and if he makes another it will be considered a good week.
Price gets to play his first US Open, in fact his first major championship, a reward for a good effort at Sectional Qualifying. This will be a huge experience for the former Sydneysider who has one good finish on the Web.Com Tour this season when 3rd in Panama but that aside he has struggled for much of the year after a good summer in Australia last year.
Watt has only been a professional for six months so has done extremely well just to get a start in the event through qualifying. He made the cut in one of the PGA Tour events in which he received an invite and was arguably Australia’s best amateur prior to turning professional. The semi finalist at last year’s US Amateur has played well enough in a couple of Central American events of late but this is another level altogether.
New Zealander, Alker, won on the Web.Com Tour on Sunday and interestingly managed to earn a start at the US Open at Merion last year and went on to make the cut. A grinding type of player whose style of game might just suit Pinehurst and if he can repeat his performance of 45th last year then he will have had another very good week.