Date: November 26, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

High standards cruel Aussies

It’s hard when you’re judged by Everest-high standards.

So when you’re Adam Scott and have seemingly brought nothing but your A-game home for the best part of two decades, it’s almost cruel to even question a couple of off days.

And on another testing Kingston Heath day of foursomes, a format that often prevents players from working into a rhythm, Scott could justifiably argue that the 70 for which he and Marc Leishman signed was an exemplary score – in fact only bettered by two nations.

But it just didn’t feel right.

Scott, presumably, expected a couple of questions about a round in which – just as he’d done in the final two rounds of last week’s Australian Open – he played some sub-Scott-standard wedge approaches.

But he didn’t particularly love the assertion that he was frustrated by the continuing inability of the team to generate any momentum in the first three rounds of the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf.

“Sorry, I didn't mean to look frustrated. Just yeah, there's nothing going,” he said with equal parts defence and submission.

“It's a grind. It's not easy. If you're not 100 per cent on, then on foursomes days you can make an arse of yourself out there and shoot 80, no problem.

“I'm just out there working hard, trying to get it in the fairway and in play so Marc can have a shot.

“We're just both a little disappointed nothing's going for us out there.

“The support's been great but the couple of chances we've had, we haven't taken them and it's just a grind.”

Neither Aussie was brilliant nor shoddy, but it’s not unfair to say that Leishman provided the sparks when they did come with a curling birdie putt on the sixth and a quality approach shot on the 10th leading to two of the team’s birdies.

The only real blemish came on the fourth hole when Scott’s iron off the tee found ti-tree left and Leishman was forced to take an unplayable lie penalty. With part irony and part summation, Scott’s subsequent long putt was his best for the day, but agonisingly sat on the lip en route to a bogey.

It’s hard to criticise when the Australian team pushed from T18 at the start of play to T11 by its close; maybe even reflective of a poor journalistic trait of barracking and expectation rather than to watch objectively.

But regardless, the deficit to leader Denmark remained at 10, just as at halfway. And nothing short of all-out blitz tomorrow will enable the hosts and defending champions to resolve both the crowd’s wishes and their own desires.

“Coming here we both wanted to be up there on Sunday afternoon and it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen,” Leishman said.

“But having said that, we can hopefully have a super low one and get things going in fourball, like Denmark showed (on Friday) that you can shoot 60.

“We may have left it too late, but we’ll never give up.

“We’ve hit a lot of good putts that have looked like going in and burning the edges. I guess you’ve got to try to take the positives out of that, that we’re hitting good putts.

“Hopefully they’ll drop tomorrow and we can try to beat Denmark’s score of yesterday.

“I think we’ll have to.”