COURSE

The Australian Golf Club will once again provide a stern test to the best Aussie talent as well as some of the best players from across the globe.

It is a long golf course, which lends itself well to the bombers of the PGA Tour, especially when the wind gets up and the track plays even longer. Bunkers, water hazards and snaking, undulating fairways demand accuracy from the tee to allow players to attack the greens and give themselves birdie opportunities.

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TOURNAMENT OVERVIEW

In 2014, Jordan Spieth came to Australia as a burgeoning golf star, and left after a stunning Sunday 63 catapulted him to a brilliant victory in tough, windy conditions of day four. It was a victory that launched him into a sublime season that yielded five wins, including two major championships, the Tour Championship title and FedExCup honour.

Spieth struck the ball beautifully on the final day and putted stoically, with a number of clutch par saves continuing his momentum. Only eight players broke par for the tournament in 2014 – a testament to the difficulty of the golf course. Red numbers were hard to find on Sunday, so Spieth’s 13-under winning total was always going to be tough to match.

PREDICTIONS

Spieth is a clear favourite after his dominant display in 2014 and impressive 2014 season. It’s not surprise, and if he plays near his best, we all know how damaging that can be. Aussie Adam Scott fancies his chances – and so he should – off the back of an Aussie Masters campaign that showed plenty of promise, but was marred by inconsistency. If he can put together four solid rounds, it will go a long way to winning.

Another Aussie a strong show this week is Marc Leishman. The long-hitting Victorian should be suited to the Open course. He spent some time home in Warrnambool last week and shot the lights out at a weekend club competition. He’s hitting it well, and feels confident heading to Sydney. Don’t count him out.

Lee Westwood and impressive American amateur Bryson DeChambeau are some international visitors who are capable of contending this week. A host of talented home-grown players will also be keen to take home their national title, with Cameron Smith one certainly capable of getting it done. He will be keen to improve on his less than stellar showing at Huntingdale last week. Read more…

RECOMMENDED BETS

Outright win – Marc Leishman $17
Outright win – Cameron Smith $51
Event low round – Jordan Spieth $4
Round 1 6 Packs

Six Pack C: Marc Leishman ($4.00)
Six Pack D: Matthew Jones ($3.50)
Round 1 Matchups

Appleby v O’Hern: O’Hern ($2.20)
McNeill v Scott: Scott ($1.50)
Smith v Senden: Smith ($2.52)
Jones v Millar: Jones ($1.85)
Round 1 – 3 Balls

Norris v Presnell v Carter: Presnell ($2.25)
Allan v Lonard v Appleby: Allan ($2.67)
Senden v Colsaerts v Scott: Scott ($2.15)
Goggin v Ruffels v Fraser: Ruffels ($3.05)
Goss v Eccles v Lyle: Goss ($3.00)