Adam Scott and Jason Day will be joined by five other Aussies at the US Masters. Image courtesy of the australian.com.au/AP
After his nail-biting victory 12 months ago, Aussie Adam Scott is one of the favourites again this year, in a Masters with no Tiger. A four-time winner of the coveted green jacket, Tiger Woods has succumbed to a back problem and won’t be at Augusta National this weekend.
Still, he is one of three players who have successfully defended their Masters title. Tiger did it in 2001/02, Nick Faldo in 89/90 and the great Jack Nicklaus in 65/66. After his dramatic play-off victory last year, Scott is a real chance to join that trio in 2014.
As a major winner, Scott leads a pack of young golfers looking to finally end Tiger’s dominance. U.S. Open champion, Justin Rose , is another who has been successful in one of the ‘big four’ and can go on with it. As a dual major winner (U.S. Open & PGA), Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy is another well-credentialed challenger at the ripe old age of 24.
But there are plenty of others hovering. Though his build-up to this year’s Masters has been hampered by injury, big-hitting Australian Jason Day certainly isn’t intimidated by Augusta. In the two Masters he’s completed, the Queenslander has finished second and third. Last year, Day was two shots behind Scott and Argentine Angel Cabrera after 72 holes, while in 2011, his -12 saw him tie for second behind South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel , who stormed home with four birdies in a final round 66. The 26-year-old from Beaudesert is one of only two players to have finished inside the top three on debut at the first major of the season; the other being Luke Donald .
Patrick Reed is another young gun firing, after claiming his third victory in eight months at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March. At just 23, he was the youngest winner of the WGC event. Yet another brash youngster making a mark is Jordan Spieth . The Texan doesn’t turn 21 until July, but in 2013 he went from peddling around in qualifying events to the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year. He’s now ranked 13th in the world.
Seven Australians will tee-off at Augusta. Joining Scott and Day are Marc Leishman , who finished in as tie for fourth last year, Tampa Bay winner John Senden , Texas Open champion Steven Bowditch , last weekend’s Houston Open winner Matt Jones and amateur Oliver Goss .
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