Date: July 20, 2017
Author: Christian Puccini

Bland first Aussie off at Royal Birkdale

Video credit: Golf Australia

South Australian Adam Bland will be the first Aussie off at Royal Birkdale tonight at 8.47pm (AEST) in a group that includes 1995 champion “Long John” Daly.

“It will be my first time meeting him, it will be interesting. I’ve heard great things about him and everyone says he’s really great to play with and accommodating, so it should be good fun,” Bland said.

It will be Bland’s third appearance at The Open after competing in 2006 at Royal Liverpool and 2015 at St Andrews.

“It’s the best draw I’ve had so far in any of the Opens, so hopefully I can make use of it,” Bland said on the eve of the event.

Qualifying for this year’s Open in late May, by finishing third at the Mizuno Open (Japan’s gateway tournament for the Open) Bland said he was well prepped for his tilt at the Claret Jug after missing the cut on his previous two attempts.

“Preparation this time has been a lot better than previous years. I’ve played over 36 holes out there and the game feels like it’s in good shape.

“I’ve played the course now in both wind conditions, it played a lot different both days, but it’s been really good and enjoyable and I’m loving it,” Bland said.

Bland, who turned professional in 2005, began his junior golf at Thaxted Park Golf Club before moving to Royal Adelaide and then after a stint at the Australian Institute of Sport in Melbourne returned to Adelaide to find a home at Flagstaff Hill Golf Club.

The 279th world ranked golfer represented South Australia three times as an amateur at the Interstate Series between 2002-2004.

After struggling for results in 2012 and 2013, a strong work ethic was the key to turning Bland's career around in 2013.

Seeing a new coach to make challenging swing changes, working hard physically to ensure he was fit and many sessions with a hypnotherapist have been the keys to a turnaround in form.