Scott covets repeat title at Australian Open

Adam Scott during the final round of the Singapore Open.

Adam Scott during the final round of the Singapore Open.

Australian Open

Dec. 2-5

Course: The Lakes Golf Club (6,850 yards, par 72), Sydney.

Purse: $1.44 million. Winner's share: $259,715.

Last year: Adam Scott won his first pro title in his home country, shooting 68-66-67-72 for a five-stroke victory at New South Wales Golf Club. Stuart Appleby was second.

Adam Scott doesn’t want to let it go.

The defending Australian Open champion made it clear he isn’t ready to relinquish his title, one he had coveted since childhood. This week, he’d love nothing more than to extend his reign as the holder of the Stonehaven Cup at the Lakes Golf Club.

“I don't really want to give up the trophy,” Scott said at a tournament press conference. “I’ve really enjoyed being the Aussie Open champ and I’d love to have the trophy at home for another 12 months.”

The 30-year-old has won more-prestigious tournaments around the world, such as the Players Championship in 2006, but said winning the title last year at NSW Golf Club was his favorite moment of his career.

“The Aussie Open is a tournament I’ve dreamt of winning since I was a little kid,” he said. “It’s one of those events any Aussie golfer treasures and wants to win.”

Scott’s victory boosted his confidence ahead of an improved season on the PGA Tour, where he finished No. 27 on the money list – a jump of 82 spots from 2009. Victories this year at the Texas Open and Barclays Singapore Open have propelled him back into the top 20 of the world golf rankings.

“I feel like I’ve been moving forward all year,” Scott said. “I’ve changed a few things with my putting.”

Stuart Appleby, who is enjoying his own resurgence, is one player hoping to whisk the trophy away from his countryman.

But lately, Appleby, a 9-time PGA Tour winner, has conceded he’s been a bit distracted after the birth of his fourth child two weeks ago, which followed his victory at the Australian Masters.

“It’s very busy and practice has been neglected, but I’m really trying to run with the high from the Masters to carry me to Sydney,” Appleby told the Australian.

Appleby, who won this tournament in 2001 and finished runner-up last year, is paired Thursday morning with Greg Norman and Fred Couples – the 2011 Presidents Cup captains of the International and United States teams, respectively.

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