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PGA Tour of Australasia Preview: Emirates Australian Open

Preview – PGA Tour of Australasia – Emirates Australian Open – Royal Sydney Golf Club – Sydney, Australia –

The PGA Tour of Australasia hosts the Emirates Australian Open this week at Royal Sydney Golf Club with defending champion and World No. 1 Rory McIlroy serving as the headliner alongside Aussie and former Masters champion and third-ranked Adam Scott.

Played since 1904, the Emirates Australian Open also includes rising American star Jordan Spieth, who was T-3 last week on the Japan Tour. Spieth nearly won the Masters last April. Birdie-machine Brendon de Jonge is also competing.

McIlroy finished T-2 last week in his return to competitive golf after taking nearly two months off. He came up two shots short of Henrik Stenson at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship on the European Tour.

Rory is playing alongside Geoff Ogilvy and Matt Jones in round one. They tee off the 10th hole at 7:05 a.m. local time. 

For Scott, he also finished T-2 last week. He was trying to win the Australian Masters for the third straight year. He came up short against then-653rd ranked Nick Cullen. Those two are paired together with Spieth in the afternoon wave in round one Thursday. The group tees at 12:05 p.m. off No. 1 the Royal Sydney Golf Club.

The Golf Channel has television coverage all week.

FANTASY: The home country advantage is a factor in Australia, thus consider an Aussie or two to contend into the weekend – namely Scott and Stephen Bowditch. Consider Cullen to continue his hot streak. The Australia Swing tends to treat trending players very well Down Under. Greg Chalmers made some noise a few years ago with his hot streak. James Nitties is worth a pick here. The Former “Big Break” star on Golf Channel finished T-2 last week at the Australian Masters.

BETTORS: According to Skybet.com, McIlroy is the outright betting favorite at 2 1/2-to-1 odds to defend his title. Rory was T-2 last week at the DP World Tour Championship, thanks to a hot start with an opening round 66. Spieth is overpriced at 10-1 playing in Australia in this spot. He was T-3 last week on Japan Tour, but has just one career victory. Instead, play Nitties at 30-1 or Bowditch at 40-1. Bowditch won on the PGA Tour in 2014 and is from Australia.

Other Golf News:

  • Stacy Lewis fell short of winning the Race to the CME Globe to Lydia Ko in Florida last weekend, but she did win three honors for her 2014 play. Lewis became the first American player since Betsy King in 1993 to capture all three — Vare Trophy (for lowest scoring average), Rolex Player of the Year and LPGA Tour Money Title.
  • The European Tour begins its 2014-2015 season at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa the first week of December. Thomas Bjorn is the defending champion.
  • American-born players won 13 times on the LPGA Tour in 2014 — the most for Americans since 1999. Lewis led the way with three victories, while Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie logged major champions along the way.
  • Brooks Koepka was named European Tour’s Rookie of the Year for 2014. The 24-year-old American recorded five Top 10s including a victory at the Turkish Airlines Open. He finished 8th in the Race To Dubai standings.