McIlroy two behind Spieth in Sydney

Defending champion Rory McIlroy is two adrift of leader Jordan Spieth after firing an opening two-under 69 at the Australian Open.
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Spieth sizzles on tough opening day

American young gun Jordan Spieth came out blazing at the Emirates Australian Open to lead after the first round.
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McIlroy makes steady start

Defending champion Rory McIlroy is two shots behind leader Jordan Spieth after the opening round of the Australian Open in Sydney.
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RACV Royal Pines ready for PGA

With the Australian PGA Championship beginning on the Gold Coast on 11 December  there is much anticipation on just how the significant changes to the front nine at RACV Royal Pines Resort are coming along and the state of readiness the full 18 holes will be in when the event gets underway.
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Nitties hunting Open berth

For 15 holes, James Nitties picked up where he left off last week.
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Australian Open 2014 golf – day one, as it happened

  • Jordan Spieth leads the field with four-under 67
  • Defending champion Rory McIlroy shoots 69
  • Adam Scott struggles
  • Email your comments to matt.cleary.casual@guardian.co.uk

Okay. That’s us. Thanks for your company. Any thoughts tweet me, baby - @journomatcleary or throw an email to matt.cleary.casual@guardian.co.uk.

And that’s that. And bye for now.

And that, I think, The People, is about that. Our leaderboard is as follows, with some thoughts on each of our T10 men, and Adam Scott who’s T88, but Adam Scott, as you know.

Jordan Spieth -4. Controlled, precise and super-cool, the 21-year-old American looked a class or two above many of those chopping about at The Australian. His odds have been reeled in like a red hot go in the last at Moe.

Okay - Jordan Spieth’s dulcet tones are emanating from the Media Room thing ... something sort of exotic about Americans. Not exotic. But always been sort of Different. You grow up with American culture, and then there’s a real life one playing golf and talking about his thoughts on Australia. For some reason, that’s compelling. Not compelling. But a word like it.

He’s leading this baby. And is a Super Golfer. He’s a good chance of winning, wish I’d got him early doors at 10-1. Because he’s shortened up now, baby. And need only beat these men to clinch the Stonehaven Trophy, named for Barry Stonehaven, full-forward for the Manuka Bullants 1985-1998. That’s not exactly true. Indeed it’s not at all true. But there it is.

What’s the time? 5pm and what we in the Media like to call: Nearly Stumps. Nearly Beer O’Clock. Nearly Beer O’Clock-off. Vision on the big screen of Jordan Spietth signing autographs for the children. Never got autographs, really. Remember going to the cricket as a kid, with the autograph book. And getting nowhere near the West Indies. So spent the match writing “Joel Garner”, “Clive Lloyd”, and “Best wishes, your friend, Viv Richards.” And when I got to school next day no-one knew any different. And thus I never sought an autograph again.

But good luck to the kids. Sure it’s a Big Thing for them.

And so into the Media Tent, and a man comes in to talk to the all The Journos, and announces “Hi guys! Jordan Spieth in two minutes. Jordan Spieth in two minutes.”

So there you go. A little slice of life on the Inside.

Highlights?

Scotty Gardiner got a hole-in-one and a Lexus, and finished -3. His card for his first 9 holes read: 6 1 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4, fine numbers.

Okay. Nothing doing for Adam Scott on 18, he misses his birdie putt and finishes on +3 and Tied for 88th. For him that’s worse than Bad Boy Bubby on high rotation. Not that bad. But bad, man. Bad.

Next group on 18? Our marquee one? Adam Scott - uber man of golf. Jordan Spieth - 21-year-old super-kid of golf. And Nick Cullen - until his Australian Masters win last week a bigger nuffie than Nigel Nuff, this week partnered with Scott and Spiethy.

And finally Our Robbie, Mr Allenby, with a four footer for birdie, if he misses this fair dinkum flames might shoot out his ears. He stalks it. Lines it up. Practice putts. Lines up. Stands over. Pulls the trigger. Gets it. Birdie three. Well done, skinny, interesting man.

Okay, Rodney “Pamps” Pampling a man so boring they couldn’t even nickname him Rocket Rod or Pamplona or something, he has a 20 foot putt for birdie ... and he ... misses. Just. Par for him.

Okay, the Supermen of Golf stalk the 18th green, looking for things to dig at with their pricking sticks, the little pitch repair jobs they carry about like short-term greenskeepers.

And here’s Griffin, from downtown ... wow. GREAT PUTT FROM NOWWHERE! EAGLE THREE, DOWN THE SLOPE AND BOOM, HE’S 1-OVER, A SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT

Wow - great shot on 18 by Robert Allenby, he’s stiffed his approach to four feet, and has a birdie putt to finish even par. Not a bad result for Our Robert, a former champion of this Open.

Taking their time, the Allenby group. Robbie’s probably upset that a butterfly sneezed in his backswing.

But there’s the white ball ... someone’s had a crack at this 18th hole par-5 in two ... and they are through, and just through the back ... tough putt coming back, over a swail and a tier.

Next up on 18? Oh - top group: Robert Allenby (a highly narky golfer and man, and yet a very nice bloke to those who know and love him, they say), Rod Pampling (who no-one really has any opinion on, he’s just a vanilla sort of man who is very good at golf), and Matthew “Peter from Family Guy” Griffin, who nobody knows anything about, not even Matthew Griffin.

First man in the Laycock-Norris-Wright group with birdie putts on 18 is Michael Wright ... just misses! Scotty Laycock? Just misses! Close. And Chuck Norris, who’s putting for a par, I’m told ... misses also. And there you go. Such is the plight of your very good without being exceptional golf professional. They call it grinding. It’s a tough old school.

Righto, out onto the outer deck of the Emirates Marquee, watching the final groups roll on in. Glass of shiraz. View over 18. Chances are my job, today, is better than yours.

And so up 18 comes ... Jason “Chuck” Norris, Michael “Orville and Wilbur” Wright & Scott “Scott Laycock” Laycock, only the latter half-recognisable to me, and I’m as sporty a sports nerd as there is.

The top men?

They are:

Great putt, Steven Bowditch, he’s 1-under now. Jordan Spieth is in the lead after his stiffed iron to the par-3. I think he’s going to win.

Okay - Adam Scott makes par. Nice putt. Nick Cullen makes par, too. What else is going on? Andrew Tampion, our leader, a bogey. And the leaderboard has five men on -3.

Jordan Spieth now ... stiffs one. A par-three. He’s about to get a birdie, there are less certain dawns.

Okay - Adam Scott ... BIRDIE! ANOTHER BIRDIE FOR ADAM SCOTT I TOLD YOU PEOPLE HE WOULD COME GOOD HE’S 3-OVER NOW AND ON A MASSIVE CHARGE HOME.

Maybe. But he’s had a couple of birdies, and I doth predicted he’d finished +2. Which on this maggotty old day remains that most wonderful things for your Uber Man of Golf: In contention.

Scotty Gardiner, he’s T2 now, on -3. And good luck to him. Australia’s first indigenous golfer on the PGA Tour.

Rhiein Gibson, who may or may not be known as “Purple” Rhein Gibson, he has a long putt for par ... and he makes it and stays -3.

Here’s our Dear Leader, Andrew Tampion, he’s on 4-under, putting for birdie ... and ... leaves the putt in the jaws, just short. Not a bad little lag, though.

Adam Scott ... whacks it ... up there somewhere. He’s just off the green. Up and down for bird, a friendly enough little equation for your Man of Golf

Okay ... quite an overcast day here at The Australian, it hasn’t rained much if at all but it’s sorta warmish/windy, sorta ... it’s a weird enough old day.

Jordan Spieth? He doesn’t mind. He just plays golf. He’s 21 years old. For a golfer, that’s ridiculously young to be so very good at golf. It’s like a 10 year old sitting the HSC or a one year old going to University and getting a PHD.

Okay, booming drive by Adam Scott who’s been booming drives since he was 3 years old, probably before that, probably when he was one, or none, or minus 23, he’s grouse at golf Adam Scott.

Leaderboard? It is thus:

Andrew Tampion -4
Aron Price -3
Rhein Gibson -3
Rory McIlroy-2
Adam Crawford -2
Richard Green -2
Scott Gardiner -2
Jordan Spieth -2
Achi Sato -2

Okay - Nick Cullen, gettable birdie putt on 13 to get him off the devil’s number +4. Not sure if it’s the devil’s number in fact pretty sure it’s got nothing to do with his imperial majesty of evil, Satan, but Nick Cullen ... he ... has ... made it! Top putt, Nick Cullen. Three-over. It’s not the worst number that will be chicken-scratched today.

Rhein Gibson? He shot 55 in a round in the United States. It was 14-under, I think. Wasn’t in a comp round, so not sure it can count. But they count them all in America, it’s a Thing. Anyway he’s -3 which is one off the leader, Andrew Tampion, bet the kids had rude nicknames for him at school.

Rhein Gibson, now, chipping from just off the green. OH! Brendan De Jonge, dud putt from close. Doesn’t get his sand-save. Slides off the leaderboard.

Okay, here’s Big Brendan De Jonge in his giant electric blue happy pants, he’s extracting his ball from a greenside trap and he ... does it beautifully. Great touch. Does it necessarily follow that big men should be ponderous, and not have good touch? We always say, Oh, great hands for a big man. But big men can be just as deft as little ones. Big men can be pianists and surgeons, and flower arrangers, there was that guy in Police Academy the one who was kicked out of the Academy for tipping a car on its roof after rednecks said a bad thing to the very shy girl who could sometimes turn into a real hell-cat.

Okay - 13th tee. Bit of a hold-up for our Feature Group of Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth and Nick Cullen. The latter two are having a yarn, their conversation going something like, Me? No I don’t have a girlfriend I spend all my time hitting golf balls, and the other replying, Totes understand, I don’t have a girlfriend, all my time is spent hitting golf balls.

Adam Scott, meanwhile, thinks, Pff, I’ve got a wife. Plus I’m handsome as hell, I could be a model.

Yes! Adam Scott’s made a birdie! Go back to what you were doing, Nation! Our Adam has made a birdie and is 4-over with half-a-dozen to play, he’s good at golf he’ll finish +2 I predict it.

Okay - Big Brendan De Jonge, now, resplendent in a giant pair of electric blue happy pants, I want some, he makes a ... bogey. He’s now 2-under. It’s still very good, it means he’s T2 which is equal second and not the second Terminator though he could be he’s big enough

Quite a lot of bunkers here at The Australian, they’re hard to get out of if you’re not really good at golf, but these Supermen of Golf just sort of ... get out. And get close. It’s a top trick. They practice a lot, though, to get out. Consequently they don’t get out a lot, if you will. These are their dues.

And so to hole No12, another par-4 there are many here at gorgeous The Australian Golf Club, it’s a really good place. Kerry Packer was a member here and made a General Manager cry because they didn’t stock his favourite sorts of biscuits. What a nasty big goanna he was, the Big Man, as capable of great charity and understanding. But then it’s easy to be charitable, isn’t it?, when you’ve got a motza. Here, sick person, have some cash. He couldn’t be nice to everyone? I dunno. Doesn’t sound like the nicest person. You’d say God rest his soul except Kerry famously died once and came back and said, Son, I’ve been to the other side and there’s nothing f***ing there. So he was good for a quote. But he made a man cry once, and that’s not very nice, particularly over a packet of biscuits.

Adam Scott, now, monster putt with his monster-long broom-handle putting wand thing, and he remains 5-over after 11 holes. Wonder when he’s going to brush the broom? It will be against the Laws of Golf in a few months, and the Laws of Golf are more sacrosanct than many religious laws.

Okay - Nick Cullen, won the Australian Masters last week with a spleen-selling sand-save on 18, he’s chopping it about today, a bit, he’s 3-over and doing his best. He’s not chopping it about. He’s really, really good at golf. But he’s on the telly today, playing with Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth. And that is all.

The Leaderboard?

Aron Price -3
Brendon De Jonge -3
Andrew Tampion -3
Rory McIlroy -2
Adam Crawford -2
Richard Green -2
Scott Gardiner -2
Jordan Spieth -2
David Bransdon -2

Brendan De Jonge? He’s our equal leader on 3-under, sharing top billing with Aron Price who’s finished and Andrew Tampion who has not.

Righto ... Brendan De Jonge of Zimbabwe, a man Darrell Eastlake would describe as a huge man, he whacks a 7-iron pretty close. Good game, golf, if a man can be built like an oak barrel of beer and yet be really, really good at golf. That’s inclusive. Egalitarian. It’s the Aussie Fair Go in action. Something.

Okay, who we got here ... it’s Jake Higginbottom, one of the cavalcade of giant punks who smash the golf ball like the hammer of mighty Thor, they are good at golf these kids, and good luck to them. They don’t have much in the way of girlfriends given all the golf ball bashing they have to do to be really, really good at golf. But people give them Lexus motor vehicles if they’re good. So there is that.

Adam Scott makes his par. He’s 5-over after ten holes, which isn’t super-flash. But he’s really, really good at golf so there’s a few birdies in him.

Nick Cullen ... great shot. A chip from off the green that spins just when it’s required and slides on down close to the hole. Hard-fought par-4 on the tenth. But he’ll take it, I betcha.

Okay, Wayne Grady is in the Emirates Marquee. Repeat. Wayne Grady is in the Emirates Marquee.

Wayne Grady? He on the US PGA in 1986, thereabouts. He’s on the telly and Twitter these days. He swears less on the telly. His tweets could be described as polemic, if you’re being really, really kind.

Ryan Fox, now, putting for the bird ... he misses. His daddy Grant didn’t miss a lot, he played No.10 for the All Blacks and had a job that was effectively “Give the ball to John Kirwan” and kick the goals.

But Ryan Fox is a fair player, he won the Jeep Pro-Am once at Royal Pines.

Jordan Spieth, now, on the tenth. He fairly schtonks one down the guts, it’s a long par-4 that goes downwards and then upwards, there’s been 43 bogeys and and seven birdies and about 63 pars, and it’s quite a hard hole.

Highlights of Rory’s Round include: some nice putts. Some nice shots. A very natty red jumper, I want one. A very fine stiffed 7-iron on the ninth, and birdie. He played with Geoff Ogilvy who on the 06 US Open, and Matt Jones, who did not.

Jordan Spieth - makes a very tidy par-4 on the ninth hole, playing like a beast into the southerly.

Cullen, now, for bogey. He’s 2-over. And now he’s 3-over.

Adam Scott - another bogey. A three-putt. He’s channelling me on a Wednesday afternoon.

News: Scotty Gardiner, our Ace Man who Won a Lexus, has started 6, 1, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, for his front 9. He’s 2-under. He owns a Lexus. He cares not.

Adam Scott, from a fairway trap ... top shot. It’s gone a long way past the hole. But he’s on the dance-floor, and has a thousand foot putt for the bird.

Cullen’s playing partner, Jordan Spieth, 21, an age when your correspondent was spilling Fosters Lager on his footy shorts on end of season rugby trips, has a hellacious lie above a bunker ... and ... chops it nowhere good. Too much weights, not enough speed work? Yeah, not really.

Okay ... we’re on the ninth hole, and Nick Cullen, winner of the Australian Masters last week with a sand-save on 18 you’d sell a spleen to achieve, has what looks like a 4-iron. Oh - straight at it ... but not far enough! And he’s into the drink. He’s 2-over. That won’t help.

Okay. Welcome back to The Australian Open at The Australian Golf Club, and it’s still quite overcast, with a blustery little wind from the south. Aron Price (-3) remains our leader, tied with Brady Watt who’s amassed three birdies in his first six holes. And good luck to him.

Some news: Adam Scott is 4-over after seven holes, and has The Blocks, according to a mate who’s trailing him around.

Greetings, Australians, and welcome to the Australian, the super-flash golf club nestled like a giant velvet green tongue in Rosebery in Sydney’s suburban east. It’s day one of the Australian Open and the golf is going to be grand.

Actually it’s been pretty tough going for these super-star professional men of golf this morning. The best score in is Aron Price’s three-under-par 68. Conditions are overcast, there’s a light southerly breeze, and overnight rain means there’s little run on the fairways. The course is playing long.

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Price leads Australian Open during first round

New South Welshman Aron Price continues his excellent form and leads the Emirates Australian Open early in the first round.
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Koepka adds another award to trophy cabinet

After a stunning breakthrough season on The European Tour which culminated in a maiden victory at the Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Brooks Koepka has added another prestigious accolade by winning the 2014 Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year award.
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Senior Open to return to Wales in 2017

The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex will return to Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in 2017 following the huge success of Wales' first Senior Major Championship this summer.
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Rory McIlroy starts bid to retain Australian Open

World No 1 tees off at the Australian Golf Club with a warning that Adam Scott is not the only danger to his title

Rory McIlroy has started his quest for back-to-back Australian Open titles in Sydney.

The world No 1 teed off at the Australian Golf Club on Thursday morning alongside fellow former winner Geoff Ogilvy and Matt Jones, a career-long member of the revamped Jack Nicklaus-designed layout.

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Posted in Golf, Rory McIlroy, Sport | Comments Off