Not a bad little two-week, eight-round stretch for Adam Scott at Royal Melbourne, though Matt Kuchar certainly acquitted himself quite nicely, too.
For months, Scott had gushed about the opportunity to play back-to-back tournaments on Australia’s pride and joy and arguably one of the top 10 courses in the world. The Australian Masters followed by the World Cup of Golf was a unique experience and it’s hard to imagine that Scott could have dreamed it going any better.
He successfully defended his Aussie Masters, of course, then shook off an opening 75 to finish solo third at the World Cup. With great satisfaction, however, Scott’s torrid effort over the final three days enabled he and Jason Day to give Australia a dominating, 10-stroke team victory.
Scott’s two-week tally: A crisp 21-under par, with six sub-par rounds and only one over-par trip. He made an eagle, 39 birdies, just 11 bogeys, two doubles, and that one, inexplicable quintuple-bogey nine. Most effective was he on holes 1-4 (16 under) and the front (20 under).
Kuchar proved to be Alydar to Scott’s Affirmed – very good, just not good enough. He squandered a late lead Sunday and finished second in the Aussie Masters, two behind Scott, then faded over the weekend into fourth at the World Cup, four behind the winner, Day, and one in back of Scott.
Still, it’s hard to quibble about Kuchar’s two-week effort at Royal Melbourne. He played eight rounds at the famed venue in 18-under, just three off of Scott’s blistering pace, and never was over par. But if he traveled home with any regrets, it might be the way in which he played the final three holes. Kuchar seemingly had the Aussie Masters in his grasp, leading by two, until he bogeyed 16 and doubled 18 to hand it over to Scott, who played those three holes in 1-under.
For the two tournaments, Kuchar played 16-17-18 in 7-over; Scott played them in 3-under.
Four other players had the opportunity to play both tournaments, with less impressive results. Brendon de Jonge was over par twice and was a cumulative 8 under; Vijay Singh was third in the Masters, but overall played his eight rounds in just 7 under; Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer was in the 60s just once and finished 2 under for his two-week trip; and India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar played nicely in the Masters (4 under) but poorly in the World Cup (dead-last at 22 over).