The Open Championship tees off at Royal Lytham and St. Annes this week, with a strong 13 man Aussie contingent looking to claim the title.
Only a month ago Marc Leishman became the first Australian to win on the PGA Tour in 2012, claiming his breakthrough win on the international stage. A steady performer throughout 2012, Leishman will be hoping to harness the momentum of his last few weeks at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, to put in yet another impressive result. All eyes will be on the boy from Warrnambool.
Also in the field, Marcus Fraser shares a coach, (Denis McDade,) with Marc Leishman, and will likewise be hoping to stamp his name on The Open Championship. The European Tour regular has also been consistent throughout 2012, following on from a successful Australian summer at the end of last year.
Australian Ashley Hall embarks on the biggest mission of his professional career when he tees it up in the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St. Annes. After trying at least half-a-dozen times in the past, Hall finally made it to the world's oldest Major with fellow OneAsia members Aaron Townsend and Nick Cullen after a brutal 36 holes of International Final Qualifying at Kingston Heath in Melbourne in February. His performance there kick-started an impressive year that has seen him make every cut on OneAsia this season, but he is still seeking a top 10 finish and, more importantly, a maiden professional victory outside Australia.
Fellow OneAsia member Aaron Townsend in unseasonal conditions saw players forced off the course for more than two hours before Townsend eventually won the two-day, 36-hole event with a 4-under-par 140. A former winner on the PGA Tour of Australasia, Townsend is well prepared for his first major. Good luck to him this week
Nick Cullen’s first Major comes in what has been his best year on Tour, a year in which he shrugged off the ongoing pain of back stress fractures to finish top five at the New Zealand Open and Victorian Open before the biggest win of his professional career at the OneAsia Tour's Indonesian Open in March. The South Australian is heading into this week’s tournament full of confidence, and should do well around the blustery course.
Australian Adam Scott has declared he must 'take advantage' of his good recent form at The Open Championship in England next week. Since missing the cut at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in May, Scott has improved significantly in his past three starts. The 31-year-old finished tied for 46th and tied for 15th before claiming third at the AT&T National on July 1 and Scott said it was time to claim his first victory of 2012. Having spent the last couple of weeks preparing for this Major, Scott is likely to be a top contender.
Geoff Ogilvy is feeling good about his game ahead of The Open Championship following a lengthy mid-season break back home in Melbourne. After a shoulder injury interrupted his 2011 season, a hectic end to the year meant the Adelaide-born player began 2012 without the freshness needed to succeed on the PGA Tour. That is not to say Ogilvy has struggled in 2012. He has made 12 of 14 cuts on the PGA Tour and recorded four top-20 finishes in a consistent year of golf. Ogilvy is hoping a four-week break, which included the chance to cheer on his beloved Saints, will give him the boost he needs ahead of this week’s Open.
Robert Allenby has had quite year on the PGA Tour. His best result was at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico in February finishing second. Allenby has missed numerous cuts in the first half of the season but hopefully this won’t affect his chances of being a major contender for the Golf Champion Trophy at the British Open this week.
John Senden carded an impressive week in the lead up to the Open at the John Deere Classic in Illinois last week. Senden has had a strong start to his 20112 campaign on the PGA Tour with two top 10 finishes and finishing just outside of the top 25 just three times in his last 16 starts. Senden has been the most consistent Australian heading into this week, and should be a formidable challenger at the Open.
Entering the field thanks to his finish on the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit, Greg Chalmers has had a consistent year to date having made 13 of 19 cuts recording five top 20 finishes on the PGA Tour. Last year back home in Australia Chalmers showed he is a real contender when the stakes are high, so don’t be surprised if he’s in with a big chance come Sunday.
Brad Kennedy landed the biggest win of his professional career at the Japan Tour’s Mizuno Open at the end of June. “I’m just stoked to break through over here and to get into the British Open,” Kennedy said. A former PGA Tour of Australasia champion, this will be one of the biggest ever weeks in Brad’s career, and there will be plenty back home watching his progress.
Another Japanese Tour regular, Brendan Jones won the Token Homemate Cup in April this year. Since then, Jones has played impressive golf, especially carding a top 10 finish at the PGA Championship in May. His good form in his 2012 campaign landed him a spot in the British Open.
Rounding out the Aussies in the field is Aaron Baddeley who has had mixed experiences in his 2012 campaign. Baddeley has never made the cut at a British Open but will be looking to improve on his performance this week.