By Paul Myers
With the northern hemisphere heading into winter, this is a relatively quiet part of the year on the golf calendar in much of the world. That is not the case in Australia, however, as many of the best players in the world gathered to contest the Australian Open. Despite playing his final 18 holes in two over par, Australian Matt Jones was able to secure the title with a total of -8, leaving him one shot clear of major champions Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth. For Jones, this title is surely the highlight of his career, and a moment he will remember forever.
A quick look at the leaderboard reveals that the Australian Open drew a field of world-class players from all around the planet to play at Royal Sydney Golf Club. In addition to Scott and Spieth, other notable names in the field included Lee Westwood, Geoff Ogilvy, Darren Clarke, Marc Leishman, Nick O’Hern, Craig Parry, and more. Only 12 players managed to break par for the week, a testament to the difficult test that was waiting for the players over the four days of the event.
Nearly Back to Back for Spieth
Incredibly, Jordan Spieth is still going strong after playing an incredible amount of golf in the 2015 calendar year. Spieth was the defending champion at the Australian Open, and of course he claimed two of the four majors earlier this year. His bid for a title defense in Australia fell just one stroke short, as he was likely done in by a poor start to his final round. With three bogeys in his first six holes, Spieth created a hole that he just wasn’t quite able to get out of, despite playing the final 12 holes in three under par. With the U.S. season just about wrapped up for the year, it is likely that Spieth will take some time to recharge and reflect on a record setting year before getting ready to hit the ground running in 2016.
Adam Scott’s Rally Falls Short
Adam Scott didn’t start Sunday in as good a position as did Spieth, but that didn’t stop him from working his way quickly up the leaderboard and into serious contention. After making four birdies in his first seven holes during the final round, Scott made three more the rest of the way, along with a lone bogey, for a total of six under par 65. An impressive round to be sure, but he also would be one shot shy of the mark set by Jones.
Perhaps the most notable story of the week, other than the trophy going to Matt Jones, was the final round of Rod Pampling. Nowhere within reasonable contention starting the day, Pampling fired an unbelievable round of ten under par 61. What’s even more amazing is that he started the round with a bogey! After making a bogey on the opening hole, Pampling would roll off nine birdies and an eagle in the final 17 holes to shoot his 61. He would finish the week with a total of -6, two shots off the eventually winning score.