Aussie contingent aims for country’s first Masters

rgilchrest@macon.comApril 10, 2011 

AUGUSTA -- The boys from down under are way under.

Australians Jason Day, Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy all enter Sunday’s final round of the Masters with a chance to shake off their country’s difficult history at Augusta National Golf Club. Day is at 8 under and tied for second, with Scott (7 under, tied for sixth) and Ogilvy (5 under, tied for ninth) just behind.

No Australian has ever won the Masters. There have been memorable close calls, most notably by Greg Norman on multiple occasions -- including a famous final round collapse in 1996.

“It’s one of those things we haven’t accomplished in Australian sport,” Scott said after posting a third-round 67. “We’re a strong sporting nation, and we push our athletes hard. One day it’s going to happen. I don’t think the guys here carry a burden. No one here is thinking there’s a voodoo on us from Australia.”

Norman finished either second or third six times between 1986 and 1999. An Australian has finished second five times -- 1972, 1980, 1986, 1987 and 1996. Since Norman’s final top-3 in 1999, no Australian has finished better than a tied for fifth, which Ogilivy and Rod Pampling accomplished in 2005.

“Greg was bigger than just golf in Australia; he was an icon down there,” Scott said. “We all grew up watching him play here and compete, so the dream of coming here and just playing is huge, and to win, even bigger, probably indescribable.”

During the past three Masters, the top Australian has finished tied for 14th, tied for 15th and tied for 18th, respectively. That run of finishes outside the top 10 seems likely to end this year with Day, Scott and Ogilvy all in the top 10 heading into the final round.

Asked about his role as a mentor to the 23-year-old Day, Scott laughed.

“I don’t know. It’s hard to mentor a guy who’s beating me,” Scott said. “Maybe he has some advice for me.

“Jason and I have known each other for a fair while now, and at 22 or 23 he’s already accomplished so much. I should stay out of his way, really, and just let him do what he’s doing.”

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