Date: December 11, 2007

Focussed Allenby heads into Open

by Steve Orme, Sportal Outspoken veteran Robert Allenby has vowed not to let external distractions hamper his progress when the Australian Open gets underway at Sydney&aposs Australian Golf Club on Thursday. Having led the Australian Masters deep into the third round last month, the 36-year-old was the subject of abusive taunts from a small group of spectators which he admits &aposrattled him&apos. But the 2005 triple-crown winner has every intention of returning to his winning ways with a third Australian Open crown this week. “I&aposm here to win the tournament, I&aposm not here to run second and I&aposm not here to let anyone put me off,” a determined Allenby said. “What happened at the Masters happened and they can do that all over again, I&aposve learnt from the experience.” And while he has previously voiced his concern over the conversion of the Par-3 11th into a so called &aposparty-hole&apos Allenby was quick to clarify his position. “There&aposs no problem in the world with people being loud it&aposs just you&aposve got to have some courtesy when players are playing their shots,” Allenby said. “I just think as long as they&aposve got someone to try and control with the crowds then that&aposs fine.” Quizzed on the condition of the famous layout Allenby could not find fault. “I love it, I love it,” he enthused. “I think it&aposs in the best condition I&aposve ever seen it – it was an absolute pleasure to play this morning and it&aposs going to be an absolute pleasure to play the tournament here.” “It&aposs in unbelievable condition, the greens are fantastic, the fairways are probably the best fairways in the world and it&aposs a great layout – it really is.” An upbeat Allenby was also full of praise for the current crop of Australian talent but conceded the abundance of world-class players has made the task of winning on home soil increasingly difficult. “Australia does have the best players in the world and we&aposre very fortunate right now that we&aposre playing in a great era,” he said. “I mean we&aposre not shooting bad scores you know to win tournaments here we&aposve been shooting good scores and been playing really hard.” “We&aposve got a lot of talent in this country – we&aposve have a lot of talent – and there&aposs a lot more coming behind us.” “I love coming back to Australia and playing and competing against all the top Aussies – it&aposs never easy that&aposs for sure.” “You have to play your absolute best to win with the way that a lot of the Aussies played on the US (PGA) Tour this year and the last few years the competition is getting harder and harder to win,” Allenby said.