Australian Open. Matt Marches On.

White Dragon GolfAustralian Open

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.


Emirates Australian Open, John Senden Regains Lead

Emirates Australian Open

John Senden

John Senden /

John Senden regained the lead of the Emirates Australian Open at The Lakes, Sydney, with a battling third round of  -2 under par, 70 and a tournament total of -7 under par.  John takes a handy two-shot lead over Justin Rose of England into tomorrow’s final round, the second year in succession that he has led the national championship through 54 holes, but last year at The Lakes he was reeled in by Greg Chalmers. That statistic is something that John is acutely aware of, he mentioned it in his report, along with his Eagle at the par 5 eleventh;

“I know where I stand,’ I have to deal with that and go out tomorrow and play my game. You have to be able to control the ball any time you play golf, but in these conditions you have to be really on your game. I had a good number I was planning on just hit through the shot. If it goes a little long, that’s okay’. I took a risk there and pulled it off.’’

John is also mindful of the speed of the greens. and hopes the tournament organisers are also thinking about the course set up, the putting surfaces were running at 11 on the stimpmeter at the start of today’s round, but were much quicker by the end.

“If they’re predicting windier conditions tomorrow, they’ve got to make sure they take care of that,’

World number four Justin Rose  is in second place alone at -5 under par, he was superb with his control, not making a single bogey until the 17th hole, and had possession of the lead for some time. But then the Englishman chipped off the green and dropped a shot, then missed the 18th green to the right and could not make par there either, Justin finished with signing for a -2 under par, 70, and will start two shots adrift of John Senden, but will be playing along side of him in the final pairing tomorrow. Justin said the conditions got tougher as the day went along;

“It got progressively tougher as the day went on, by the end of the round it was tough to even tap in, to be perfectly honest with you. Even from three feet you were getting buffeted around, the wind’s moving you. It’s very difficult to get the ball in the hole. Whoever literally stands up, the last man standing will win the golf tournament. I think it’s going to be a battle.’’

There are three Aussies tied in third spot at -4 under par for the tournament, Matthew Jones, Kieran Pratt and veteran Peter Senior.  2009 Australian Open champion Adam Scott is not quite  out of the running just yet.Adam is at two-under-par for the tournament, just five shots back of the lead, especially if he gets the type of generous early morning conditions that most of the players have experienced this week.

Marcus Fraser had a disastrous third round of +4 over par 76, and he also will need something special on Sunday if he wants to get up and contend this trophy.


Emirates Australian Open, Marcus Fraser Leads with a Hole in One

Marcus Fraser

Marcus Fraser / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Aussie Marcus Fraser leads the Emirates Australian Open at the conclusion of the second round at The Lakes golf course in Sydney, with another -3 under par, 69 round, and a tournament total of -6 under par. Marcus, who played in the mornings calm conditions has a one shot advantage over John Senden and Brendan Jones. Marcus aced the par 3 fifteenth hole to cap off a remarkable seven weeks playing golf in seven different countries. Next week he will travel to Malaysia to see if he can win the Asian Tour money title. Marcus spoke of his ace, and his grueling schedule;

” To have one go in like that, it turned the round and the tournament around from where I was. I’ve been playing so much I feel like I’m going with the flow a little bit, playing week-in, week-out you’re going through the same routine every day and it feels like another golf tournament. At the same time it is the Aussie Open. Definitely it’s the pick of the bunch of the eight weeks for me.”

Take a look at the late season schedule of Marcus, starting  September in Malaysia, then China WGC-HSBC Champions, the Barclays Singapore Open, the UBS Hong Kong Open, the European Tour’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, then a failed attempt to secure a 2013 PGA Tour card in California last week, and back to Malaysia next week.

John Senden played in the windy afternoon conditions and could only manage a +1 over par round, falling back to -5 under par for the tournament and tied in second place with Brendan Jones, who carded a -1 under par second round, for his -5 under par total.

On his own in fourth place is another Aussie, Nick Cullen, he had a second round of  -2 under par and a total of -4 under for the tournament.

World number four, Justin Rose started well, with four birdies on the front nine to move into the lead at -7 under par, but unusually fell behind with four bogeys in six holes in the windy afternoon conditions, leaving him with a +1 over par 73, tied in fifth position at -3 under par. Adam Scott managed a -1 under par second round and is five shots off the pace.

Story of the day was made by 63 year-old Tom Watson, who fired in a second round -4 under par 68, to make the cut by one shot after his terrible start to the tournament sinking to a first round total of 78. Tom expressed his desire to succeed;

” I hate missing cuts, I really do, that means you’ve failed.”

Tom”s playing partner, Greg Chalmers also just made the cut by one shot, and was not happy with his performance in the easier morning conditions;

” Three par fives on the back nine and I bogeyed two of them. That’s not going to work if you want to have a good score out here. I guess I’m going to get to play on the weekend so I get to go out and shoot a low score, but certainly I’m probably going to start a long way back.”

It certainly looks like the winner of this tournament will be the player who can master the windier afternoon conditions for the next two days.



Emirates Australian Open, John Senden Sizzles in 1st Round



Emirates Australian Open



Senden Caddie

John Senden / australianpga

John Senden certainly sizzled in the opening round of the Emirates Australian Open at The Lakes golf course in Sydney, shooting a -6 under par 66, to lead by one shot. John has had another consistent year on the  US PGA Tour, earning five top ten finishes, and he capitalised here as he took advantage of the light winds earlier in the day. The afternoon players had to contend with a stiff breeze, which made the going a little bit more difficult. The 41 year-old John reckons he is playing some of the best golf of his life;

” I’ve been playing some of the best golf I’ve played in my life,’ I just need to believe in that and keep going forward. I’ve played with them all. I know how they are. It’s about standing on the stage and being comfortable. That’s where it’s at. I feel like I’m getting better at that. I’m moving forward, slowly getting better, that’s where my whole career’s been going. I need to continue in that direction and keep everything simple and just play.”

John has also been caddying for his son Jacob at Keparra Golf Club in Brisbane, his own Alma Mater, he spoke about Jacob;

” He’s starting to get to know the game of golf a bit. He’s always been able to hit the ball well but now’s the time I can get him on the golf course and learn a bit about walking six, seven, eight holes, learning a bit about etiquette. He’s starting to get the gist of it. He’s into every sport. He loves it. When I first took him out I took him in a golf kart and all he wanted to do was drive the golf kart. Now we’re walking, it’s fun being out there with him and hopefully he’ll continue to play the game and enjoy it.”

Five players are just one shot back of the leader, three Aussies, one Kiwi and one Englishman, in the shape of World number four, and one of the favorites here, Justin Rose.  Justin mentioned the early start time today;

” You assume the early morning round is the one you have to post a good number, all in all, it’s a good start.”

The three Aussies who also shot 68 and are at -4 under par are, Kim Felton, Richard Green and Brendan Jones. Joining that bunch is Kiwi Gareth Padison.

Adam Scott, one of the more fancied players to lift this trophy posted an even par round of 72, leaving him six shots off the pace at the top of the leaderboard. Adam admitted to being a little bit off;

It was good conditions this morning but I tried to play quite aggressively my first nine and hit a few ordinary shots, nothing too bad but got in a bit of trouble and wasted opportunities out there. So I was a little bit off but I played fairly good the front nine in pretty tricky conditions with the wind getting up. That’s the tougher nine so not too much damage done but I’m certainly giving them a head start this week. I would have loved to have been a few shots better but there’s another 54 holes, that’s a lot of golf to play so a course like this. If you can have a good nine holes you’re right back in it.”

Adam is probably right, we will see how the broomstick performs on the greens tomorrow, after Adam had been practicing here with a conventional putter, before the tournament began.