Australian Open. Spieth Steals Title with Play-Off win.

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American Jordan Spieth came from behind in the Australian Open, to get into a play-off, and steal the title from under the noses of Aussies Ashley Hall and Cameron Smith, at Royal Sydney Golf Club.

Australian Open

Jordan Spieth / getty

Jordan birdied the first extra hole to secure his second Australian Open title after he had finished the day tied with Ashley and Cameron on -12 under for the competition;

“We love coming here, I’ve cut out a lot of overseas travel this year, but we still came here, because that’s how important this event is to us and I haven’t gone anywhere else.”

“I had a chance last year on 18 and didn’t hit a great putt, and this time I had that same chance with a very similar putt in the playoff and capitalized.”

“So drew back a little on that and said this is our time to close this one out.”

“I’ve been in a bit of a stall hitting the shots when they mattered.”

“To hit those two shots in there right where I wanted to hit them and then to make the putt with it, is really big going forward and it’s something I can draw on all next year.”

It was a tough experience for Ashley and Cameron who a both carded great final rounds of -6 under 66, while Jordan returned -3 under 69.

Australian Open. Geoff Ogivly Takes Charge.

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Geoff Ogilvy takes charge of the Australian Open, taking a two shot lead into the final round tomorrow at Royal Sydney Golf Club.

Australian Open

Geoff Ogilvy / getty

Geoff shot -8 under par 64 today shooting him to the top of the Australian Open leaderboard at -11 under par, and spoke about Jordan and Australian whiz-kid Curtis Luck;

“I’ve played with Tiger and Phil a few years back and that was like I wasn’t even there.”

“I was frustrated because I wasn’t a couple of shots better than I was, but it’s quite kind of nice to be invisible in a group if you like.”

“You just play golf and watch one of Australia’s best kids and one of the world’s best golfers play. It’s a good spot to be.”

Aaron Baddeley, -5 under 67 today, Ryan Fox, -1 under 71, and Jordan Spieth, -4 under 68 are all tied in second place at -9 under par.

Jordan is feeling confident;

“I felt very confident starting that round, felt like it was my tournament.”

“I feel that way here; I feel my best golf is yet to come out. At this present moment I feel very confident about where things are. I can draw on 2014 for sure.”

“I’m going to play pretty aggressive on Sunday. I may dial back on a couple holes, I’m in the position to do so. I’m going to stay true to myself.”

“That 2014 was a round that felt like an easy 63 if that makes any sense. It did wonders for me going forward so I’m very excited about Sunday.”

Australian Open. Matt Makes It.

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Matt Jones makes it a win at the Australian Open, in a dramatic day at The Australian Golf Course in Sydney.

Australian Open

Matt Jones / Getty Images

Matt had an up and down final round which included a bogey, double-bogey and a triple, but managed to hang on and win the Australian Open after carding a +2 over par final round, and post the wining score of -8 under par.

He was closely followed home by two big name players, World number one, and defending champion Jordan Spieth, and Adam Scott, they tied for second place at -7 under par

Adam started the day nine shots off the lead, and produced a great final round -6 under par 65, to give him the clubhouse lead at -7 under par, while Jordan and Matt battled it out between them, in a comedy of errors.

Jordan carded even par 71 for his last round while Matt recovered from his meltdown to hang on with +2 over par 73.

How they must have envied Rod Pampling, who shot a course record -10 under par 61 for his final round, to finish on his own in fourth place at -6 under par.

Australian Open. Matt Marches On.

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Matt Jones marches on in the Australian Open at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

Australian Open

Matt carded a marvelous third round -3 under par 68, in difficult conditions to post -10 under par at the top of the Australian Open leaderboard, and maintain his three shot advantage gong into the final round tomorrow;

“One more day to go, I get to play with him; be no better person to beat on the final day and have him in the group with me.”

” So yeah, to go up against the number 1 in the world will be a lot of fun.”

“I’m just happy to be in the final group leading the golf tournament with a chance to win.”

“Of course we play golf for a living and to have the chance to win is what you want, and to go up against the number 1 in the world is even better.” 

Defending Champion, and World number one Jordan Spieth is fighting to retain his title, a -4 under par 67 keeping him in touch with the leader at -7 under par, and holding second place on his own, but three shots on this course in windy conditions is a huge advantage. Jordan set the crowd alight with an Eagle two at the 17th.

Australian Open

Jordan thought he would be closer to Matt at the end of the day;

“When I finished the round I thought I’d either be tied or one back and it looks like I may be two or three, either way, it’s a lot better than I was to four holes today.”

” Great fight back, one of the best fought rounds I’ve had that I can remember.”

“He’s a guy who can, with confidence, really roll his putter well.”

” He’s a guy who isn’t fazed by the wind.  He hits a nice little punch ball draw flight and he’s not letting up.”  

On his own in third is Rhein Gibson, with a tournament total of -5 under par, after his third round -3 under par 68, and he was happy with that score;

“I knew it was going to be a little tough today with the wind and the bigger crowds but I had a good front-9 which kind of settled me down a bit and happy to shoot 3-under.”

“This is one of my top three courses in Australia.  I love coming here.”

” The greens are absolutely perfect.  You get some balls tracking on line, they’re going to go in.” 

Aron Price and Lincoln Tighe are tied in fourth position at -4 under par, with Geoff Ogilvy on his own in sixth at -3 under.

The title is really down to one of top three, with Adam Scott way back at -1 under par for the tournament, – 3 under 68 was a better effort today. He carded an Eagle three at the par five last hole to get there, with a good putt;

“A lot better today than yesterday coming off the course.”

“It was a hard grind out there today. Windy all day, pins were tucked. I was scrambling, I was hitting some good shots, making some putts.”

“It was a bit of everything out there that added up. Good in the end.”

Good to see European Ryder Cup Captain, Darren Clarke playing well, he is also at -1 under for the competition, along with Adam, Brett Rumford and Todd Sinnott.

In all there are only ten players in red figures, and that number could go down if the windy conditions continue for the final round tomorrow.

 

Australian Open. Matt Jones Leads at Half-Way.

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Matt Jones leads the Australian Open at the half-way stage at The Australian Golf Club, in Sydney.

Australian Open

Matt Jones / Getty Images

Matt scored a second round -3 under par 68 in the Australian Open, giving him a leading total of -7 under par, and a nice three shot 36 hole lead.

To win here would be great, a Matt has never won a PGA Tour of Australasia tournament, but he has thought about it;

“Of course I’ve thought about it, it would be fantastic.”

“Any time you have a chance to win your own country’s Open, it would be fantastic.”

“But, two days to go, I can’t really be thinking about that now. I’ll be thinking about that if I have a chance coming down the stretch on Sunday.”

“I do know the golf course; I’m comfortable with lines off the tees.  The greens are completely different to what I grew up on here, different grass, a lot of different breaks.” 

“I do have local knowledge and it’ll be fun to be out there on the weekend with a lot of friends and family and members from this course out there.” 

Todd Sinnott holds second place on his own at -4 under par, a -1 under 70 today keeps him in touch of the leader, the rookie is impressed with last years winner Jordan Spieth;

“It’s pretty cool.  I suppose I’m young, but Spieth’s younger, and watching what Spieth did this year winning two Majors and having one of the best years ever basically, it’s pretty cool to be playing alongside him.”

“Hopefully I’ll be competing against him over the last couple of days.”

“I’m more experienced now; I’ve dealt with last year here where I had a bad last round, so I sort of know what to expect on the last couple of days being in the last couple of groups.”

“I’ll hopefully give it a good shake in the next couple of days.”

“Probably a little bit more mature and a little bit more comfortable in bigger situations I suppose, but I’m still learning and I’ll keep learning.” 

Defending Champion, Jordan Spieth, the Worlds number one, from the USA, is in a tie for third place, at -3 under par. He shares that spot with Geoff Ogilvy, Nicolas Colsaerts, Aron Price and round one leader, Lincoln Tighe.

Jordan is hoping to apply some pressure on moving day;

“Right now I think the goal is going to be to try and shoot 10-under on the weekend and I think that should be good enough.”

“I like the challenge of chasing but not being too far away, knowing that you can maybe go out ahead and put just a bit of pressure on.  Maybe they hear the noise, the roars, if you can generate some.”

Adam Scott made the cut, a +2 over par today, he said he was tired, and is still having putting problems;

“Yesterday was tiring. This is my sixth event out of the last eight weeks and getting out of bed at four o’clock this morning, I wasn’t springing out of bed and then I just misjudged the pace of the greens for most of the day.” 

“I just couldn’t get myself to hit the putt hard enough and when the greens slow down I tend to struggle and I did again today.” 

Come talk with us Adam.

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.