28 Aug 2020 | Professional golf |

Scott leads Aussies in Chicago

by Martin Blake

Adam Scott BMW image
Adam Scott drives on the opening day at Olympia Fields today. Photo: Getty

Adam Scott dropped shots at the last two holes but on a difficult day at the Olympia Club, Scott’s opening 72 was enough to be in the mix at the BMW Championship, the penultimate playoff tournament of the PGA Tour’s 2019-20 season.

Scott bogeyed the 14th, 17th and 18th holes to give away his momentum but he was scarcely alone in struggling in Chicago. He is tied-21st through the first round.

After Dustin Johnson’s remarkable 30-under at TPC Boston last week, Olympia Fields offered up deep rough, strong wind and firm greens. Just three players in the field of 69 broke par, headed by Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who opened with a three-under par 67 including a 20-metre birdie at the last hole.

There are four Australians in the field, but all of them battled. Marc Leishman had an 80 to be dead last through the first round, although the Victorian has the luxury of knowing that as the 20th-ranked player in the points rankings, he will progress to the Tour Championship for the top 30 in Atlanta regardless of what happens this week.

Cameron Smith (75) and Jason Day (76) have work to do if they are to progress to Atlanta. Smith needs to finish inside the top 54 this week to make the Tour Championship for the second year in a row, while Day has to get into the top five this week.

But the story of the day was the scoring, with conditions that were compared to a US Open set-up. It was a comparison that Scott, who needs a top-10 finish this week to reach Atlanta, acknowledged.

“Yeah, it was getting close,” said Scott. “If they could narrow the fairways another five yards, we’d be there. But I’m glad we’re not because I wasn’t hitting enough fairways.”

Tiger Woods opened with a three-over 73, needing to finish inside the top handful to get to Atlanta. Rory McIlroy played better for an even-par 70 while new No. 1 Dustin Johnson started with 71.

ON THE European Tour, South Australian Wade Ormsby returned to the tour with an excellent, opening 68, four-under par at the ISPS Handa UK Championship to sit in sixth place through the first round. He is four shots from the lead held by South Africa’s Justin Walters.

VICTORIAN Brett Coletta made a good start at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Tour Championship in Indiana, reaching four-under par through 17 holes before darkness forced a halt to play. He is tied-11th overall. BMW Championship leaderboard

UK Championship leaderboard

Korn Ferry Tour championship

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