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Scott paired with Spieth; McIlroy with Ogilvy

ADAM Scott will play with Jordan Spieth and Australian Masters champion Nick Cullen for the opening two rounds of the Australian Open.

ADAM Scott has been grouped with American drawcard Jordan Spieth and newly crowned Australian Masters champion Nick Cullen for the first two rounds of the Australian Open golf in Sydney.

Scott will tee off just after midday in Thursday's opening round as he bids to atone for his one-shot loss last year to Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy will tee off in the morning with Geoff Ogilvy. Stuart Appleby was originally schedule to play with Ogilvy and McIlroy, but withdrew himself from the group because of an ongoing back injury.

Australian Matt Jones replaces Appleby in the McIlroy and Ogilvy group, while Appleby himself will now be playing with John Senden and amateur Lucas Herbert.

“[Stuart Appleby] didn’t want to cause any inconvenience to anyone in such an important group, so it was good of him to let us know,” said Trevor Herden, the tournament director of the Australian Open.

Scott had his first look at the revamped layout at The Australian on Tuesday morning, while McIlroy will play a practice round later with Australian young gun Ryan Ruffels.

While Scott is coming off a share of second at the Australian Masters, McIlroy only arrived in Sydney from Dubai late on Monday.

The world No.1 finished equal second behind winner Henrik Stenson at the DP World Tour Championship at the weekend and is the player to beat in his title defence.

Stenson's victory helped the Swede leapfrog Scott to world No.2, the Australian falling to No.3 in the rankings released on Monday.

It was at Royal Sydney last year where McIlroy's resurgence started.

Winless to that point in 2013, the Northern Irishman conquered a faltering Scott with a birdie on the final hole.

The two had gone head-to-head on the back nine, Scott squandering a number of birdie chances that would have pushed him two clear.

Since then, it's been all McIlroy.

He won the British Open at Royal Liverpool by two shots and made it a major double in 2014 by taking the PGA Championship at Valhalla Country Club.

AAP

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