The Australian challenge at the year’s final major should be strong with plenty of good signs coming out of the WGC Bridgestone tournament in Ohio.
Five of the six Australians who teed up in Akron will be at Quail Hollow next week and four of those five will take some confidence from their play this week.
Scott Hend led the Australians home with a T10 finish in the limited field event and despite not having his best game in the final round, his Saturday 63 suggests he is in a good place.
Hend used his length to great advantage in that third round and will find the wider playing corridors at next week’s host venue, Quail Hollow, to his liking.
Having played the final round with eventual winner Hideki Matsuyama, Hend will have seen up close exactly what is required to get the job done at this level and that will be invaluable come next week.
While Hend posted his best WGC finish and was the main focus of Australian fans Sunday, Adam Scott produced the best score of the down under players, his bookend rounds of 68 seeing him to a T13 finish.
Scott started hot Thursday and held the lead outright through 11 holes of the tournament before fading in the closing stages and following up with a poor Friday round.
But a brief study of his statistics for the week suggest there is a lot to like about his game, particularly his work on the greens.
Scott gained strokes on the field in three of the four rounds and if he can continue that form in Charlotte his ball striking will all but guarantee he is a factor.
Jason Day, too, showed glimpses of his best golf in his adopted home state this past week, a Friday 66 the highlight for the former World Number One.
Day said after The Open Championship his game was close and there were indications that was the case this week.
As a player whose best performances have always come on the biggest stages it would be a surprise if Day didn’t factor in Charlotte, particularly after disappointing performances in the first three Grand Slam events of the year.
Marc Leishman is Australia’s third big hope at the PGA and while he struggled over the first three rounds found something on Sunday with his only sub-par score of the tournament.
Losing strokes to the field on the greens for the first two days, Leishman turned things around with the flatstick at the weekend and will take good momentum to Quail Hollow.
Rod Pampling was the last of the Australians playing both events but found the going tough at the brutally long and tight Firestone course.
Sam Brazel was the final Australian to tee up in Ohio and while the course is one that doesn’t suit his game he played determined golf to finish T47 at 5-over for the week.
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