Australian Open golf 2016: Adam Burdett skips Pro Shop working week to top Jordan Spieth on leaderboard

The ball finished where? Geoff Ogilvy found his drive ended in a punter’s armpit. Photo: Adam PengillyTrainee professional Adam Burdett was thanking his lucky stars a mate wasn’t home on Monday night after scrambling his way into the Australian Open through qualifying. “I had to sleep at a mate’s house and he wasn’t going to be home and thankfully I got his bed,” Burdett laughed after soaring up the Australian Open leaderboard with a first-round four-under 68. “I’m supposed to be standing in the Pro Shop at Yarrawonga at the moment. My boss [Evan Droop] was supposed to be caddying for me, but he had to be home working.” And he would have liked what he heard from the regional Victorian town as the 22-year-old Burdett, who has shot 59 at his home course just last year, eerily birdied five straight holes from the seventh – the same sequence as Monday – to sit atop Jordan Spieth heading into Friday. “We looked up [at the leaderboard] behind the second green and my caddie Josh said, ‘you’re in front of Spieth’,” Burdett said. “I just started laughing. As we were finishing my name wasn’t on the leaderboard and I was at three-under [the same as Spieth, who was up there]. He said he would go and tell them to put my name up there. I said, ‘don’t worry about it’.”

Counting the pennies

If you thought the Australian amateurs such as Curtis Luck, Brett Coletta and Harrison Endycott have been patient in not handing in their amateur status, how about Scottish ace Connor Syme. Not only is his three-tournament swing through Australia not going to yield any prizemoney despite some impressive performances, he is preparing to go home and work for his dough in the middle of a freezing Scottish winter. “My dad’s out with me and he’s got work duties when he gets back,” Syme said after carding a one-over 73 in the first round of the Australian Open at Royal Sydney. “So do I. We need to get some money in for the winter. My dad has a driving range back home and I just work in the pro shop. I do about 15 to 20 hours a week and it gets a bit of money in at the end of the season to go for the golf.” Syme has become somewhat acclimatised to the searing heat of the Australian summer winning the Australian Amateur title earlier this year.

Ogilvy’s armpit play

Balls may have landed in stranger places, but Geoff Ogilvy’s drive on the fourth hole was right up there with them. Playing with Jordan Spieth and whizkid Curtis Luck, Ogilvy’s drive flew right and stung an unassuming member of the crowd in the shoulder. The only problem? The ball ricocheted off him next to the adjoining patron and virtually lodged under his armpit. Under instruction not to move, the nonplussed gentleman just waited as Ogilvy casually strolled down the fairway to find his ball stuck like glue to the man. Ogilvy, who finished his round at two-under, took a free drop and promptly made par in one of the more bizarre ways to walk off with no damage to the scorecard seen at the Australian Open.

Swing Fit program

Australia’s top-ranked female golfer Minjee Lee’s brother Min Woo is part of the Australian Open field, but Golf Australia is already working on producing the next superstar women’s player with a series of exhibitions at Royal Sydney. The female legion might not be following the field’s two pin-up boys Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth around the fairways of the historic course, but converging on the women-only Swing Fit exhibition while the sporting spotlight is on the national championship. The six-week program has integrated yoga and Pilates into the sessions in a bid to increase female participation in the sport. It is designed to target the 18-39 market which Golf Australia wants to tap into during the summer.

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