PGA rough and tumble could be a Royal pain
SUNSHINE Coast professional Steven Bowditch has issued a "rough alert" for the Australian PGA Championship, warning of potential scorecard carnage for players straying off the generous Royal Pines fairways at the Gold Coast layout.
After playing the pro-am, the Peregian Beach professional questioned whether this year's rough needed to be cut and thinned to avoid some disastrous numbers being scored when the tournament starts this morning.
"Hopefully they can get some of that rough... that rough's brutal at the moment. I'm guessing they either want us to shoot a hundred or they haven't been able to get the mowers out (because of the rain)," Bowditch said.
Defending champion Adam Scott, keen to close down a disappointing year with a victory, agreed the rough off the fairways in the second year of Graham Marsh's $5 million makeover was more demanding than last year, when he shot 14-under to win the tournament.
"Certainly on the front nine the rough has grown, and probably it's growing as we speak after the rain and the sunshine right now," said Scott, who hasn't had the results he was hoping for in the Australian Masters and Open in recent weeks.
"It's severe; it's to be avoided and almost hard to get it on the green out of the rough.
"There's plenty of fairway to hit out there though. It's not very tight but it's good to see a little bit of rough out there, especially as conditions have now got a bit soft."
Australian PGA tournament director Andrew Langford-Jones said Bowditch was unlikely to get his wish with the rough unlikely to be cut because of the wet weather which has hit the course this week.
"It's going to be very brutal," Langford-Jones said.
"You're going to need an eight-iron just to get it out, but if we cut it the ball would just sink down under the cuttings.
"It's a championship; it's supposed to be tough."
Scott said he was hoping to arrest slow starts which cruelled his chances in the Masters and Open.
"I've played well, but I've got off to such poor starts,'' he said. "I'd like to change that this week and get off to a good start. I did a good job of getting myself back in the mix, but I wasn't able to finish them off.
"It would be nice to get off to a bit better start and kind of take the pressure off as the week goes on."
Despite his recent failures, Scott is the clear favourite to go back-to-back, quoted at $2.75 with Tattsbet.
Fellow Aussies Marc Leishman ($15) and John Senden ($21) are regarded as the main dangers, while Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge ($21) and American Scott Stallings ($34) represent excellent value.