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Australians On The Prowl at Shinnecock Hills

Jason Day talks with Tiger Woods during practice today (Photo: USGA Chris Keane)
Nine Australians get to tee it up at this week’s US Open ranging from World No. 8 Jason Day to World No. 450 David Bransdon, highlighting one of the nation's broadest spectrum of players ever assembled at the event.

It's not as many as the 11 Australians who competed at the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst but this week at Shinnecock Hills in New York provides a strong representation of Australian golfers chasing golf’s most lucrative title.

Jason Day leads the way amongst the Australian contingent, both in world ranking and previous US Open form with five top tens in seven starts including two runners-up. He has all the credentials to again do well and already has two victories in 2018.

Marc Leishman is a big event player, his unflappable demeanour well suited to the rigours of major championship golf. 

Like Day, Leishman is having a very good 2018 including a runner-up finish at his second to last start and four other top tens. His record at the US Open is hardly stellar but Shinnecock Hills is a very different style of challenge and might just suit the Victorian.

Adam Scott just managed to scrape into the field through Sectional Qualifying but while not outstanding to date in 2018 he has played well enough and, importantly, has built continuity in recent weeks as he tried to avoid the possibility of not making the field.

The engagement of a new caddie for Scott this week might well make a difference especially given his new bagman is a Shinnecock Hills local. 

Adam Scott practising at Shinnecock Hills.

Cameron Smith has struggled since his impressive 5th place at the Masters and having missed his last three cuts in PGA Tour events there is concern about his current form.

His 4th place finish on debut in this event in 2015 essentially earned him the right to play the PGA Tour and he did also make the cut in his only other US Open start in 2016.

Matt Jones is in the field courtesy of Sectional Qualifying but with only two starts in the event, both of which ended in him not making the weekend, his US Open record leaves a lot to be desired.

So too has Jones' form in 2018 although in recent weeks there appears to have been improvement and just making the field has been an achievement for the former Sydneysider.

Aaron Baddeley also made the field via Sectional Qualifying and plays his 10th US Open although there is little to get excited about amongst his previous nine starts. The Victorian has a best of 13th and no other top twenties and having missed three of his last four cuts this year, his chances of anything better appear slim.

Lucas Herbert played his way into the field last week and continues to impress in the early stages of his professional career. This will be the first of two majors Herbert will play in 2018 having also qualified to play the Open Championship.

David Bransdon is in the field courtesy of Sectional Qualifying in Japan and although this is a significantly higher level than which he has competed in previously it offers the Victorian a great opportunity to test his game against the world’s best.

Jason Scrivener managed to play his way into the field through Sectional Qualifying in England and - like Herbert - makes his major debut.


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