Adam Scott at the pro-am prior to the start of the Australian Open.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

SYDNEY (AP) -- Adam Scott said the Australian Golf Club, which will host the Australian Open beginning Thursday, might be in the best shape of any course he's played this year. His score in Wednesday's pro-am might have made him feel that way.

Scott initially said after his pro-am round he had a "bunch of birdies," but when told that one of his playing partners said that Scott had shot "9 or 10 under" on the par-71 course, Scott smiled and said: "Yes, it was something like that, but I stopped counting because I didn't want to use them all today."

Last week at the Australian Masters, Scott led after the first two rounds but faltered badly on Saturday with a 77 that pretty much ended any chance of him winning the title on the Huntingdale course in Melbourne where he lost in playoffs in 2002 and 2003.

He realizes that with defending champion Jordan Spieth in the field this week, along with Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and last week's Masters winner Peter Senior, he'll have to have four stellar rounds if he's to contend on Sunday.

"I'd love nothing more than to be in the final group with him (Spieth) on Sunday," Scott said. "He's doing a huge favor for Australian golf (by returning to defend his title). I'm very fired up."

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Scott will have former fulltime caddie Steve Williams on his bag for this tournament, which suits him just fine: "I've told him this is our major this week," Scott said.

Earlier in the day, organizers marked the 100th edition of the Australian Open with a presentation involving 19 past winners from seven decades, including three-time champion Peter Thomson (who also won the British Open five times), Westwood (1997), Geoff Ogilvy (2010) and Scott (2009).

"It was a very nice touch having a lot of former champions there," Scott said. "Six years have slipped by, I would love to win it a second time."

The Australian Open is the fifth-oldest national championship in the world, behind the British Open, U.S. Open, Canadian Open and South African Open.

South Africa's Gary Player won the Australian Open a record seven times, followed by Jack Nicklaus with six. Greg Norman, who has won the tournament five times, is noticeable by his absence this week - organizers said he had been invited but his management team had declined.

Norman is due back in Australia next week from his Florida base when an award named in his honor will be presented during the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines in Queensland state.

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