Re­ju­ve­nated Spi­eth fired up for Aus­tralian Open

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

For­mer world num­ber one Jor­dan Spi­eth says he feels re­ju­ve­nated en­ter­ing his first event in seven weeks at the Aus­tralian Open in Syd­ney start­ing to­mor­row.

The 23-year-old dou­ble ma­jor win­ner hasn’t played since last month’s Ry­der Cup and is the head­line act at the Royal Syd­ney Golf Club along with lo­cal favourite and world num­ber seven Adam Scott.

“I feel re­newed. I feel men­tally in a good place right now go­ing into the end of this year and next year,” said Spi­eth, who is cur­rently ranked fifth. “I’ve had some tremen­dous time off, been able to feel like I’m com­pletely rested, get to do some things in the swing that I’ve been try­ing to work on for a year now.”

The Amer­i­can is chas­ing his sec­ond Aus­tralian Open ti­tle in three years. A fi­nal round 63 pro­pelled him to a six-shot vic­tory in 2014 and his ti­tle de­fence last year fell one shot short when he and Scott were joint run­ners-up be­hind Aus­tralian Matt Jones, who is not de­fend­ing his crown this week. Spi­eth has two world­wide vic­to­ries in 2016 and has been un­able to re­cap­ture his re­mark­able form from 2015 when he won five times on the US PGA Tour in­clud­ing back-to-back ma­jors at the US Masters and US Open. “I wanted to come back here,” he said. “This tour­na­ment is very im­por­tant. It was a spring­board two years ago.” Spi­eth is search­ing for his first vic­tory since May and tees off early to­mor­row along­side for­mer US Open win­ner Ge­off Ogilvy and reign­ing US Am­a­teur and Asia-Pa­cific Am­a­teur cham­pion Cur­tis Luck.

Ogilvy is fresh off a tie for fourth two weeks ago at the US PGA Tour’s Shriners Hos­pi­tals for Chil­dren Open in Las Ve­gas and is con­fi­dent he can add to his Aus­tralian Open win in 2010.

“I feel ca­pa­ble of play­ing bet­ter than I ever have,” the 39-year-old Aus­tralian said.

“Whether that ac­tu­ally even­tu­ates for scores or not, I don’t know, but I feel like I know my game bet­ter than I ever have. Golf-wise I feel bet­ter than I ever have.”

Scott-the 2009 Aus­tralian Open cham­pion-will head­line the to­mor­row af­ter­noon field when he tees off along­side Venezue­lan Jhonat­tan Ve­gas and fel­low Aussie Aaron Bad­de­ley.

The 2013 Masters cham­pion re­turns to Royal Syd­ney for the first time since his mem­o­rable duel three years ago with Rory McIl­roy when the North­ern Ir­ish­man birdied the 72nd hole to de­feat Scott by one shot. Scott is vy­ing for his first vic­tory since back-to-back wins on the US PGA Tour in Fe­bru­ary and March. —AFP

Jor­dan Spi­eth

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