Australian Open. Jordan Spieth Leads.

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Jordan Spieth leads the Australian Open by one stroke at the conclusion of the first day’s play with -4 under-par 67, opening round.

Tied in second place are Aron Price and Scott Gardiner, both carded rounds of -3 under par 68.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy is two shots behind, with first round -2 under par 69.

Australian Open

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory took a few holes to find his form in the tricky conditions;

“It took me a little while to get going, I gave myself a lot of chances early on in the round and didn’t really take them.

“The conditions were pretty tricky. It was tough to get the ball close to the pins with the wind and these greens being quite firm as well.”

“It was cold, windy and a little bit of rain here and there, when I think of playing golf in Australia, it’s not the kind of day I expected.”

“The wind was up early on, then it died, then got up again.”

“I thought anything under par today was a decent score and it was nice to birdie the last and shoot something in the 60s. It puts me right there going into tomorrow.”

“Golf tournaments are long, all you want to do is give yourself a chance going into Sunday, I definitely feel like there’s a better score out there.”

Rory’s top rival for this title, Adam Scott did not do so well, shooting an opening round +3 over par 74. Before he teed off today Adam reported that he had not played on this course very much;

“I haven’t played here that much in the past. Obviously there’s been a lot of work done and they’ve presented a beautiful golf course for us this week.”

“My feeling is it’s certainly going to favour the longer hitters this week. There’s no rough out there.”

“It seems like it just hasn’t grown in for them yet but hopefully with some pretty long straight driving, I’ll be able to take advantage of a few holes.”

“The wind is the definitive this week. With no rough, so that’s not going to penalise any stray shots as much as it normally would, but the winds still will.”

Another Distraction For Rory, Getting Married !!

At the New Year’s Eve fireworks display at Sydney Harbour, Rory McIlroy proposed marriage to his tennis girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki . Could this be another distraction for Rory as he tries to regain his number one in the world ranking ?

Caroline Wozniacki caddied for Rory McIlroy at a par three competition last year. Photo / AP

Caroline and Rory / AP

Rory used the firework display as the backdrop and a precursor for his own big bang announcement of his midnight proposal, employing Twitter to say;

“Happy New Year everyone! I have a feeling it’s going to be a great year!! My first victory of 2014 #shesaidyes!!”

Caroline wasted no time to tweet back;

“Happy New Year everyone! Rory and I started 2014 with a bang! … I said YES!!!” 

The two former World Number Ones were at the New Year’s Eve firework display in Sydney as Caroline prepares for the Australian Open starting on January 13.

These two are not the first famous Golf-Tennis double act to get married, with Greg Norman – like Rory a two-time major champion – wedding fellow former world No1 Chris Evert in 2008, although the marriage lasted only 15 months. Not surprising as they could not even decide whose house they would call home, they both wanted to stay in their usual places. You would have thought they would have sorted that out before actually getting hitched.

I wish the couple well and a long and happy marriage, wether they can both regain their number one status in each sport is a really fascinating event, which will keep the newspapers and magazines occupied through 2014.

Australian Open. Scott Succumbs to McIlroy Magic.

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Adam Scott scrambled in the final round of the Australian Open, at Royal Sydney Golf Club, then at the death succumbed to a last hole birdie from Rory McIlroy, as he bogeyed the hole.

McIlroy triumphs after duel in the sun

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images.

Rory shot a bogey free last round -6 under par 66, for his winning total of -18 under par at the Australian Open, his first victory of the year. The boy is back, with an unlikely one shot win here. Rory started the day four shots adrift, but as Adam continually failed to convert his birdie chances, Rory began to chip away at the lead, including an Eagle at the par five 7th hole.

Rory reported he always thought he had a chance;

 ” I stayed patient, I knew anything could happen.I always believed I could win, he had a couple of chances but was unlucky. The support this week was phenomenal, the atmosphere was fantastic. Since the end of September I’ve just felt in a better place, a better place mentally with some things off the course. Golf’s a long career and I’m 24 years old. I get a little impatient at times and if I actually just took a step back and looked at the bigger picture, it hasn’t been too bad a year. I feel a bit sorry that I was the one that ruined the triple crown for him but I’m very happy.”

Adam has had a great year, which  included victory at the US Masters and back-to-back wins at the Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola and the Talisker Masters in November. He needed this tile to win the triple crown, sadly for him it did not happen  Leading by one shot on the final hole, his approach shot went through the green, his chip shot back was not the best and he failed to sink his par putt. Rory then sank his birdie putt, and it was all over;

“I’m gutted. I felt like I never had a better chance to win the Aussie Open but it was tight the whole back nine. Nothing was going my way on the greens today. I could have put this thing away I think early on if the putter was behaving how it should have, like it did the rest of the week but I just misjudged into the last and a player as good as Rory is going to take that opportunity.”

Adam still secured the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit title, his second since turning Professional in 2000.

John Senden was in third place at -11 under par, a long way from the leaders, that is how good Adam and Rory played.

Australian Open. Scott Secures Top Spot in Sydney.

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Adam Scott secured the top spot in the Australian Open at Royal Sydney Golf Club on Saturday, he is now just 18 holes away from his dream of the triple crown of home wins.

Adam Scott: Australian continued dominant form on home soil

Adam Scott / Getty Images

Adam shot a -4 under par 68 in the third round of the Australian Open, to open up a four shot lead at the top of leaderboard, at -16 under par for the tournament, going into the final round. He thinks he is OK, but still has one eye on Rory, and the other on his putter;

“It’s an exciting position to be in, obviously a great chance to win my national championship tomorrow. And then also win the three events down here which is an unbelievable spot to be in. If you’d told me a month ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. One round to go but a lot can happen. It’s a phenomenon playing behind me and I’m sure he’s going to throw plenty at me, but as long as the eye stays in with the putter, I think I should hold on.”

Rory McIlroy is the one who is four shots behind, he could only managed a -2 under par third round of 70. leaving him on -12 under par at this event, and a long way to go to catch Adam in the final round. He said he should have been closer, but there are still opportunities;

“I played a good back nine, it could have been a couple better, I felt I left a couple out there. It’s possible on this golf course, where there can be a lot of two-shot swings and someone makes a couple of pars and someone gets off to a fast start and makes a birdie and an eagle and you’re right back in it. There’s plenty of chances out there and it’s just a matter of taking your opportunities when they come.”

There are currently three players tied in third place at -8 under par, Matt Jones, Richard Green and Max McCardle will all have to console themselves to fighting it out for the minor placings.

Australian Open. Scott still Top, Rory roars up behind him.

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Adam Scott is still top of the leaderboard at the Australian Open, but Rory McIlroy roars up behind him at the Royal Sydney Golf Club.

Scott’s Triple Crown race off to a flyer

Adam Scott / Getty Images

Compared to yesterday’s -10 under par round, Adam scored a modest -2 under par 70 today, but it him kept on top of the leaderboard at the Australian Open with a -12 under par total.

Adam said it had been a tough afternoon;

“It was a tough afternoon, plenty of good stuff in there but made a few mistakes in the tricky conditions.At times, it was extremely difficult and I think I held it together pretty well. It was going to be a day for hanging in. I made lots of birdies but bogeys were easy to come by if you were just slightly off and probably most scorecards would have looked similar this afternoon.”

Rory McIlroy / AP

Rory McIlroy had one of the best rounds of the day, carding a -7 under par 65, which leaves him just two shots behind the leader with his tournament score of -10 under par. He said life is tough when someone is way clear at the top of the leaderboard;

“When you see someone like that at the top of the leaderboard already with a low score, it’s tough not to think about it. It’s tough not to sort of press the issue and try and make birdies to catch up with them right away but golf tournaments are long, they’re four days, 72 holes and there’s a lot of time to chip away at those leads.”

Third place at -9 under par is Richard Green, his second round of -6 under par 66 elevated him up the leaderboard at Royal Sydney.

Richard’s highlight of the day was an Ace at the par three 6th hole;

“That shot on the par 3 sixth today was a flush golf shot. It’s nice to build a bit of confidence from hitting good shots again. I love coming to Royal Sydney. It’s my favourite course up here, I’ve done well here before, it fits my game, how far I hit the golf ball at least. It was a very nice day. I’ve been struggling a little bit of late with my game and changed a few things, changed my clubs, changed my driver; just about everything this week and it’s just started to show some good signs again.I haven’t hit shots like I have the last two days for a long time, probably about three years.”

Australian Open. Great Scott Strikes Again.

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Adam Scott

Adam Scott / Getty Images

Adam Scott shot an opening round of -10 under par 62 at the Australian Open, smashing the course record at Royal Sydney Golf Club, and it could so easily have been a 60. Adam hit  it in close to the hole, at the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th for birdies, and then carded a run of eight consecutive pars. The previous record on this course lay-out was 65.  Adam is seeking to complete the full set of the main home tournaments, the PGA Championship, the Talisker Masters and the Australian Open in the same season, only Robert Allenby has done it, that was in 2005.

Adam said he felt comfortable with his swing;

“The swing was where I wanted it so I just went for it. Steve and I have felt there was a low one in there. I remember Greg Norman birdying the first six holes of Royal Troon in 1989 and that’s about as good a start as I can remember. I’ve gone through a roller coaster of emotion out there today, from cruising after six holes to having to work pretty hard for the next six or seven holes just to make some pars. I can’t sit here and complain about anything but a bit like last week in the first round, the swing wanders on a couple of shots and it did it again today. It’s just incredible how in 18 holes you can do 360 degrees of emotion and mood swings and everything. It was a great start and a very nice little course record to have here at Royal Sydney. I couldn’t believe how many people were there this morning early and the crowd swelled really quickly in the first couple of holes. It was fantastic. I wasn’t expecting that this morning at all, maybe tomorrow afternoon but they were just incredible crowds this morning and it’s so nice that I was able to hit a few nice shots for them and get it going. It’s fun to see golf on a bit of a high down here at the moment, really it’s been a lot of fun to play in front of everyone.”

 

Another round like this tomorrow and this tournament will be done and dusted, the rest can fight for second place.

In that second place at the moment is Canadian Ryan Yip, he posted a -7 under par 65, to be three shots off the lead. Ryan is one of the few players at this tournament who are not Aussie.

In third place at -6 under par for the first round is Aussie David McKenzie.

In case you had not noticed Rory McIlroy is in the field, the world number six carding an opening round of -3 under par 69. He has a long way to go to even catch up with Adam.

Australian PGA Championship, Daniel Popovic has 2 point lead for Final Round

Daniel Popovic

Daniel Popovic / pga.au

Young gun Daniel Popovic has a two point lead going into Sunday’s final round of the Australian PGA Championship at the Palmer Coolum Resort golf course. Daniel carded a -3 under par 69,  for tournament total of -13 under par, in calm conditions on Saturday to lead fellow Victorian Anthony Brown by two shots, and is confident he’s got the game to hold off an experienced chasing pack and claim his first Australian PGA Championship.

” I knew that I had it in me and I still know that I have one more good round tomorrow in me. I’ve just got to keep my routine going , what I have been doing has been working this week and tonight is going to be exactly the same and so is tomorrow morning in my warm up. I’ve been in pressure situations before, like say Q-School which is for me almost the most pressure that you have for the year because it determines where and how many tournaments you are going to play. It does surprise me in a way that I did handle it so well today without sort of having my A-game, but I am going to walk away from here thinking this can be done tomorrow and I’m going to give it a fair crack. It’s going to be an incredible ride for the whole family I think, tomorrow for myself, my mum and my dad is going to be huge.”

Daniel said he was excited to playing alongside another Australian legend on Sunday,Peter Senior,after playing with Geoff Ogilvey on moving day.  In the final group will be Anthony Brown who is two shots back at -11 under par and Peter is three shots behind at -10 under par;

“It’s fantastic, I mean Pete Senior is another one with so much experience and watching Geoff the way that he went about things today, I learnt so much again today playing with him. Geoff is such a great guy and I really hope that I get to play with Geoff again but Pete Senior, I have never met him in my life and I am sure that he is about the same sort of bloke as what Geoff is,  I can’t wait.”

Daniel may be excited but Peter Senior has issued a warning to the leader as he chases a fourth  Australian PGA Championship, declaring he’s in better form than when he won last week’s Australian Open.

” Pretty happy with the way things are going, I played a lot better today than I had even last week. I hit a lot better quality shots, driving it really well and I was just hitting it and picking up my tee which is always a great feeling, it sort of sets the holes up a little bit. I hit some better iron shots today that felt better than what I have been doing and made some birdies on some good holes, like 14 and 18 today, those were the real bonus holes. I just haven’t been making birdies on the par-fives, there are 15 par-fives and I think I’m about three under, the longer hitters are sort of knocking them to pieces so the par-fives are really letting me down.”