19 May 2021 | Professional golf |

The PGA: Aussies sense a 'US Open' feel

by PGA of Australia

Adam Scott Kiawah image
Adam Scott enjoys a practice round at Kiawah Island this week. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

Aussie pair Adam Scott and Jason Scrivener admit that there is a US Open air about this week’s US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina as they seek to become the sixth Australian to hold aloft the Wanamaker Trophy. Starting with Matt Jones from 9.11pm Thursday night AEST there are eight Aussies who will tackle the seaside Ocean Course that at 7,876 yards (7,201 metres) will be the longest course in major championship history. It measures 200 yards longer than when Scott and Geoff Ogilvy finished tied for 11th at the 2012 PGA Championship and boasts a closing stretch that will require the front-runners to hold on for dear life to close it out. Returning to Kiawah Island confident and calm, Scott says he may need to draw on the manner of Ogilvy’s US Open title at Winged Foot in 2006 if he finds himself in contention late on Sunday. “If the wind blows this way for the rest of the week, it’s going to be a battle to just get in the clubhouse,” Scott said on Tuesday of the closing five holes of the Ocean Course. “One that comes to mind of just surviving was when Geoff Ogilvy won the US Open. He was the only guy to play the last four holes in par that day, I believe, and it could be something similar for anybody kind of near the lead. “These holes are very, very difficult into this wind. Not just on Sunday, but I think every day. “The big challenge for the players is it’s a little bit like a St Andrews where you go in one direction for so long – play maybe 11 holes in the same wind direction – and then you turn around on 14 and play the exact opposite for five holes. “That adjustment I think is quite difficult to make. “For me I’m trying my best to prepare myself on how I approach that mentally so I produce some good shots coming in.” Playing in just his second Major championship, Scrivener played the back nine alongside American Keegan Bradley on Tuesday and admits that there will be no place to hide coming down the stretch. “It’s pretty friendly going out. You’ve got downwind holes that play a bit shorter but as soon as you turn at 14 it’s just brutal,” said Scrivener, who played the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills. “I hit 3-iron into 14, 3-iron into 15, 16 is a three-shot par-5, 17’s 3-iron and 18 I hit 3-iron as well. “It feels more like a US Open course the way it was playing today but I like it. It’s obviously going to be a brutal test and every part of your game is going to have to be on.” As for which hole may decide the championship on Sunday, Scrivener said every player will approach the 223-yard par-3 17th with a great sense of trepidation. “Seventeen will get your attention,” Scrivener said understatedly. “That’s the hole where guys are going to have to man up on the tee and hit a golf shot there because there’s nowhere to hit it. “If you bail out you’re not going to make par and then obviously you’ve got the water short and right. “That’s the one shot that you probably don’t look forward to.” The exposed site and predictions of winds up to 20km/h each of the four days is expected to play right into the wheelhouse of Warrnambool native Marc Leishman while Cameron Smith’s creative streak and short game wizardry will flourish in such a setting. In addition to the US PGA Championship some of our leading women are in action at the LPGA Tour’s Pure Silk Championship, there are nine Aussies playing the Golf Partner Pro-Am Tournament on the Japan Golf Tour and former PGA TOUR winners Aaron Baddeley and Mark Hensby are among the six Aussies playing the Korn Ferry Tour’s Advent Health Championship, a tournament won by Michael Sim in 2009 and James Nitties in 2011. US PGA form guide Cameron Smith Rd 1 tee time (AEST): 3.36am with Gary Woodland, Justin Rose World Ranking: 25 Best finish at the PGA: T25 in 2015 Best finish in a Major: T2 at The Masters (2020) Best result in 2021: Won Zurich Classic (with Marc Leishman) Last start: Won Zurich Classic Marc Leishman Rd 1 tee time: 9.27pm with Garrick Higgo, Paul Casey World Ranking: 37 Best finish at the PGA: T12 in 2013 Best finish in a Major: T2 at The Open (2015) Best result in 2021: Won Zurich Classic (with Cameron Smith) Last start: T21 at AT&T Byron Nelson Adam Scott Rd 1 tee time: 9.38pm with Tyrrell Hatton, Rickie Fowler World Ranking: 38 Best finish at the PGA: 3rd in 2018 Best finish in a Major: Won The Masters (2013) Best result in 2021: T10 at Farmers Insurance Open Last start: 54th at The Masters Matt Jones Rd 1 tee time: 9.11pm with Larkin Gross, Dylan Frittelli World Ranking: 56 Best finish at the PGA: T21 in 2015 Best finish in a Major: T21 at US PGA (2015) Best result in 2021: Won The Honda Classic Last start: T37 at Wells Fargo Championship Jason Day Rd 1 tee time: 3.14am with Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington World Ranking: 65 Best finish at the PGA: Won in 2015 Best finish in a Major: Won US PGA (2015) Best result in 2021: T7 at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Last start: MC at AT&T Byron Nelson Lucas Herbert Rd 1 tee time: 4.26am* with Tyler Collet, Brendon Todd World Ranking: 97 Best finish at the PGA: T71 in 2019 Best finish in a Major: T31 at US Open (2020) Best result in 2021: T22 at Omega Dubai Desert Classic Last start: MC at Wells Fargo Championship Jason Scrivener Rd 1 tee time: 10.50pm with Stuart Smith, Emiliano Grillo World Ranking: 118 Best finish at the PGA: First appearance Best finish in a Major: MC at US Open (2018) Best result in 2021: 2nd at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Last start: MC at Betfred British Masters Cameron Davis Rd 1 tee time: 4.31am with Pete Ballo, Chris Kirk World Ranking: 127 Best finish at the PGA: First appearance Best finish in a Major: T39 at The Open (2018) Best result in 2021: 3rd at The American Express Last start: T26 at Wells Fargo Championship US PGA CHAMPIONSHIP Kiawah Island Resort (Ocean Cse), South Carolina Defending champion: Collin Morikawa Past Aussie winners: Jim Ferrier (1947), David Graham (1979), Wayne Grady (1990), Steve Elkington (1995), Jason Day (2015) Top Aussie prediction: Marc Leishman TV schedule: Live 3am-9am Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday on Fox Sports 503

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