By Brian O’Hare
JUST when you think Adam Scott couldn’t possibly pull any more rabbits out of his hat he comes up with a course record 10-under to open his 2013 Emirates Australian Open campaign.
Starting in near perfect early morning conditions in front of huge galleries at Royal Sydney Golf Club, the US Masters winner quickly added to his growing aura as Australian golf’s “new Greg Norman” figure by blasting six straight birdies.
He then had a comparatively “flat” period where he says his swing wasn’t quite “in the groove” for eight straight pars before coming home with four more birdies.
His card looks like there were 10 straight birdies from the 6th to the 15th but that’s because he teed off on the 10th.
“Yes, some day I’m going to be able to embellish that I made 10 birdies in a row, but it will be a few years before I can get away with it,” Scott joked later.
But the truth wasn’t that far off.
“Well it was a beautiful morning, that’s for sure, for golf,” a very satisfied Scott said. “And I think the front nine was ideal conditions for us, which was obviously the back nine. I came out hitting great shots and didn’t have much work to do to clean them up the first five holes and then made a nice putt on my sixth hole and I was really rolling at that point.
“But it’s interesting because you go through, I think I’ve gone through a roller coaster of emotion out there today, from cruising after six holes to having to work pretty hard for the next six or seven holes just to make some pars and nothing much going my way and getting a bit frustrated, missing a green at about the fourth hole, feeling like my swing is leaving me again [LAUGHS] and then to hit one good shot on the par 3 fifth, close and knock it in and then finish really strong.
“It’s just incredible how in 18 holes you can do 360 degrees of emotion [LAUGHS] and mood swings and everything. It was a great start and a very nice little course record to have here at Royal Sydney.”
Scott’s quest for a season Aussie Triple Crown couldn’t be in better shape and organisers were ecstatic with his start and with the crowds the event has already attracted to Royal Sydney.
“We had people queuing up at quarter to six in the morning and that’s just phenomenal,” Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said.
“Without getting too premature, I think we’re harking back to the great days of the 1990s and 2000s when we had such a charismatic figure as Greg Norman leading the charge. I think Adam’s sort of assuming that sort of popularity with Australian crowds and the Australian sporting audiences.”
The unofficial first day crowd was put at around 12,000, eclipsing the Thursday crowds seen at The Lakes two years ago when Tiger Woods headed a Presidents Cup heavy field.
Scott’s final score 62 saw him finish the day with a three stroke lead over little known Canadian Ryan Yip on 7-under, with Aussie David McKenzie (66) on 6-under outright third.
Rory McIlroy (69) was tied for 14th on 3-under with Jason Day (70) T21 a stroke further back.
Scott will be back on course with playing partners Day and American Kevin Streelman (70) on Friday afternoon when crowd numbers are expected to swell significantly.
2013 Emirates Australian Open Leaderboard