Australian Open Moments of the 21st Century: 2013-2017
In this final installment of our look back at the Australian Opens of the 21st century we start with one of the most exciting tournaments in recent memory.
The headlines surrounding the 2013 Australian Open were dominated not by the week’s events but by a tournament which took place eight months earlier.
Back in April, Adam Scott had become the toast of the nation when he broke the Australian hoodoo at Augusta to become the first antipodean winner of the Masters.
Teeing up in all three of Australia’s biggest events that summer as he travelled the country showing off the iconic Green Jacket, Scott won both the Australian Masters and the PGA before arriving at Royal Sydney.
He opened with a breathtaking 10-under 62 and was four ahead of then two-time major winner Rory McIlroy to begin Sunday’s final round.
The expected coronation never materialised. Paired together, they came to the last hole with Scott holding a slender one-shot margin, but the Northern Irishman would not be denied.
McIlroy spoiled the party with a birdie on the 72nd hole to Scott’s clumsy bogey, leaving the popular Queenslander to forever rue ‘the one that got away’.
Ties to the first major in the calendar continued the following year, though we didn’t know it at the time.
By 2014 Jordan Spieth was one of the game’s most promising young players when he teed up at The Australian. By the time he blew the field away with an unfeasible Sunday 63 he had transformed into a golfer to watch.
He credited that Sunday round in Sydney five months later when he won the Masters in record-equalling fashion and has since claimed two more major titles.
He also nearly added to his Australian Open tally in 2015 when he came within a stroke of defending his title, again at The Australian.
But it was club member Matt Jones who eventually got the job done despite a nervous Sunday; Spieth a shot behind alongside Adam Scott.
The Texan wouldn’t be denied again however, and in 2016 he had his revenge at Royal Sydney.
Hardly playing his best golf he somehow stitched together a final round of 69 to tie with Ashley Hall and Cameron Smith, then promptly holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole for a second Australian Open crown.
His fourth straight trip to Sydney – and third to The Australian – was less fruitful, as young gun Cameron Davis produced a Sunday charge for the ages to grab the trophy in 2017.
Davis, a quiet Sydneysider who had won the individual trophy at the World Amateur Team Championship the previous year, needed just 64 strokes in the final round to win by one over Matt Jones and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt.
The victory was just the beginning of what has been an impressive second year as a professional for Davis. He won’t have the luxury of flying under the radar for a second time when he returns to defend his title this November at the next instalment of our incredible Australian Open.
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