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Australians seeking first green jacket

April 4th, 2012 10:43 pm by Joe Avento

Australians seeking first green jacket

AUGUSTA, Ga. — There doesn’t seem to be any reason for the longest streak in Masters’ history.
Nobody from Australia has ever won the Masters. That’s a losing streak of 75 years.
“I think it’s just coincidence that it has not happened,” says Adam Scott, who looks like the best bet to give his country its first green jacket. “One year someone is going to get across the line.”
Scott almost broke the through last ye ar when he tied for second with fellow Aussie Jason Day. Geoff Ogilvy tied for fourth, giving the country a very good showing.
Still, it wasn’t good enough.
“It’s going to happen,” Scott said. “We have a lot of great players and we always have, and it’s just not happened. To be the first would be incredible for an Australian, because not only would you be the Masters champion, but in Australia, there would be that little asterisk next to your name of the first.”
Scott certainly didn’t give anything away last year. He shot back-to-back rounds of 67 on the weekend and would have been a worthy champion. Day played with Scott on Sunday and closed with a 68 that appeared good enough for a playoff until Charl Schwartzel came along and birdied the final four holes.
Greg Norman came the closest to bringing a Masters win to Australia. He finished second three times, and two of them are among Augusta’s most memorable moments.
Twenty-five years ago, Larry Mize’s miraculous chip-in in a sudden death playoff left the Great White Shark stunned. Nine years later, Norman blew a six-stroke lead on Sunday and saw Nick Faldo earn the green jacket. It was the blunder from Down Under.
Norman also finished third three times, and he was in contention on each of those occasions.
It all began back in 1950 when Australian Jim Ferrier held a three-stroke lead with six holes to go only to play those final holes in six over par, allowing Jimmy Demaret to claim the top prize. It was Ferrier’s fourth time in contention in five years.
Five Australians -- Norman, Scott, Day, Bruce Crampton and Jack Newton -- have finished second. Along the way, Craig Parry (1992) and Bruce Devlin (1968) have also held the lead in the final round.
But nobody has pulled it off on Sunday.
“It’s one of those sporting hurdles that no Australian has gotten over, and it may be one of the last ones for the sports that we play in our country after Cadel Evans winning Tour de France last year,” Scott said.
This year’s Australian contingent consists of Scott, Day, Ogilvy, John Senden, Aaron Baddeley and amateur Bryden MacPherson, who won the British Amateur by beating former ETSU golfer Michael Stewart in the final.
One thing bodes well for Baddeley. The devout Christian spoke Tuesday at the local Fellowship for Christian Athletes prayer breakfast. It was pointed out that the last time the final round of the Masters was played on Easter Sunday, like it will be this year, Zach Johnson won. He spoke at the breakfast that year.
Baddeley has already won once on Easter, in 2006 at Hilton Head.
What would the reaction be back home for the first Aussie to win a green jacket?
“I have no idea,” Day said. “Maybe a parade? That would be fantastic.”
Joe Avento is a sports writer for the Johnson City Press. Contact him at javento@johnsoncitypress.com.

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