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Scott and Rose Aussie Open standouts

(Photo: Bruce Young)
The Emirates Australian Open gets underway tomorrow at the Lakes Golf Club in Sydney with two distinct favourites for the title.

Adam Scott and Justin Rose dominate the field and the bookies cards given their significant standing in the game and their current form and while there are a number of other high quality Australians who could potentially test them it would be a surprise to not see at least one of them in contention over the closing stages on Sunday.

Both spoke today to crowded press conferences and Rose was asked if his disappointing week last week at Sun City was a concern or just a hiccup.

"I think it was just a hiccup," said the world number four. "Sometimes when you are around family, subconsciously you want to play really, really well for them. I think there was an element of frustration. I think it was the first week when the season caught up with me. That is natural. I think you are allowed to play poorly once in a while and let it be water off a duck's back.

"You saw that with Rory. He missed the cut in Hong Kong, which is one of his favourite events, and then he came back an won in Dubai. The condition changes last week were very hard, with the distance control at altitude. We were playing off very spongy kikiyu fairways.

"I found it very hard to get the ball close to the flag stick. The fairways were incredibly tight last week, too. It was a good week to play your best but if you weren't playing your best it was a tough week.

"My goal this week is to end with another win but more important is to end the year with a disciplined process. I don't want to take my eye off the ball at the end of the year. I want to come here sharp and I want to trust everything that has worked so well for me all year long.

"From that perspective, stay focused, prepare as hard as I can and as well as I can. You can never guarantee a result in golf but you can go out and be disciplined about your work ethic. That is my goal this week.

Rose was asked about any potential rivalry with Scott this week especially given they are playing together over the opening two rounds.

"It is a great draw for me. I regard Adam as one of my best friends out on Tour. I don't say it is a rivalry. We are both incredibly competitive but we are also good friends. The great thing is that you play the golf course. You are not really eye-to-eye or head-to-head, especially on days one and two. It will be a fun pairing and hopefully we will get nice crowds, which is a really good way of lifting your game. "
Scott followed Rose into the Media Centre and as was expected the first question was about which putter he would run with during the tournament.

"I don't know. I'll probably putt with the long putter, said Scott. "The other one I was messing around with was my first go and it is not quite what I want it to do. It is not quite set up right for me. I'll have another go at another time if I feel I need to. I ordered that putter a while back. I was experimenting for my own use.

"I'm just playing around with a few things, a few different ideas. I certainly like a lot of the philosophies of putting with a broomstick. It is simple. I can move it slightly off my chest and use the same putter but I think there are better ways than that. We are all searching for the best possible way and I think there are still better ways for me to go about it."

Scott finished well back in this event in 2010 but in 2011 he tied for 4th against a field considerably stronger than the one he faces this week. It might not be the Kingston Heath of Australian Golf but the golf course is improving each year since its rebuild.

"Certainly it matures as the grass and everything settles down the way a golf course does after it has been rebuilt, said Scott. "It is in perfect shape for this year. Like I said, the defence to this golf course is the wind. It needs wind, otherwise we are going to shoot really good scores. It is very difficult in the wind because the greens have so many undulations. It is hard to get it next to the hole. It either finishes next to the hole or a long way away with a very difficult putt."

I don't believe Scott is a complete fan of the layout but given the class of player he is then he can overcome that and do well.

But Scott and Rose, while the clear favourites, are not the only contenders. John Senden, defending champion Greg Chalmers and Marc Leishman can all be considered as can American Kyle Stanley who won the Phoenix Open earlier this year and who importantly finished 11th in this event last year.

The blustery conditions that buffeted the Lakes today are expected to abate slightly for tomorrow but by Sunday they will switch direction and blow event stronger. It might be a case of hanging on to more than your hat on a golf course that could prove very, very demanding as the week progresses.

Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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