Date: November 21, 2013

ISPS Handa World Cup Day 1 – Denmark & USA top leader board

Today the world’s best golfers descended upon one of golf’s most famous backdrops, The Royal Melbourne Golf Club, to play for ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf. Touted as one of the pinnacles of golf courses in the Southern Hemisphere, Royal Melbourne provided the top international players, including Adam Scott, Jason Day, Graeme McDowell and Matt Kuchar, with a relentless test of golf. 

One can never let the natural beauty of Royal Melbourne become a distraction and the players knew that as the greens today were not far off of a surface resembling glass. Graeme McDowell, who is known for his excellent touch around the green, found his tee shot on the par 3 third, land on the green and roll off the back of the green into the fringe. With a putter in his hand he then, ever so delicately, putted and found his second shot stop to six feet below the hole. He would two putt for a bogey. A testament to how difficult the natural defences of Royal Melbourne can be, even for a major winner. 

American’s Kevin Streelman & Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn are the individual leaders after round one, both shooting a five-under 66. One shot back are the trio of K.J Choi (Korea), Stuart Manley (Wales) and Martin Laird (Scotland).

The home team consisting of World No. 2 Adam Scott and world No. 18 Jason Day drew the biggest crowds of the day but the current Australian PGA and Australian Masters Champion was unable to re-create the magic he had in his game from last week. In the lead up to the World Cup Adam Scott made it clear that he was proud to be able to represent Australia with his friend Day and as such would lend guidance to the 26 year old Queenslander who is playing with a heavy heart. 

Jason Day, ever the competitor, performed valiantly with birdies on 2, 5, 9 and 10 and sits 6th on the leader board, with Adam Scott tied for 47th having shot four-over. Scott’s round was blemished with an unlikely 9 on the par 4 12th hole. He tried to drive over the dog leg with his tee shot.  Scott hit his first ball on the 402 metre hole into some trouble in the right rough.  He then re-teed and promptly found the same result. He couldn’t find his first ball and his second was unplayable, as such he had to go back to the tee lying five. He then hit through the green on his approach shot, could not get up and down and ended up two putting for the 9.      

Streelman was ahead of the pack in mastering the speed of the greens and had a sterling performance early with back to back birdies on the second and third holes. He caught fire on the back nine as he made 4 birdies in a 5 hole span (10, 11, 12 and 14). While this is an admirable performance on day one, it will be the golfer whose consistency allows him to prevail as holder of ISPS Handa World Cup. Perhaps the biggest prize for the golfer atop the leader board on Sunday will be the sense of relief after taming Royal Melbourne with the world’s best providing no margin for error.   

A competition within this competition that must not be discounted is the team component of the ISPS Handa World Cup. The combined score in stroke play is taken from each twosome competing for their country. At the end of day one the Denmark pairing of Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen are tied with American duo Matt Kuchar and Kevin Streelman at five-under.

There is a lot of golf yet to play with Adam Scott and Jason Day who currently sit one-over, tied for 7th with Japan and Thailand.

Round 2 Tee Times

By: Michael Speakman (Golf Victoria Intern)