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Tones of home: Australians failing to perform

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MELBOURNE, Australia – The Australian contingent at this year’s Presidents Cup isn’t showing any signs of having a home-course advantage.

There are five Australians on the International team, including Greg Norman’s captain’s picks Aaron Baddeley and Robert Allenby. That local knowledge was supposed to help the home side – Baddeley, Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy are all from Melbourne.

But while that concept worked in 1998, when the Internationals with four Australians won the trophy for the first and only time, the formula has not been so successful this time around.

This year at Royal Melbourne, Jason DayAdam Scott, Allenby, Ogilvy and Baddeley have a mediocre combined total of five wins, 11 losses and three halved matches.

Those performances are part of the reason the Americans lead 13-9 going into the 12 singles matches on Sunday.

In 1998, Norman, Craig Parry and Steve Elkington combined to win three matches each and Stuart Appleby two as the Down Under players finished with 11 wins, three losses and four halved results.

Allenby has been the worst performer 13 years later, as the only player among 24 on either team who has not accrued a point. Allenby is winless in three matches, but sat out Saturday afternoon’s fourball matches.

Baddeley has one win, two losses and a halve, Ogilvy is 2-1-1, Day 1-2-1 and Scott 1-3-0.

American Hunter Mahan, who combined with Bill Haas in Saturday afternoon’s fourballs to beat Day and Baddeley, 2 and 1, said he enjoyed winning in front of the partial crowd.

“This is an Australian team we were playing here,” Mahan said. “You heard the crowd, so to win like that, it feels good. And the crowd is just so for them. I’m going to do my hardest to get that silence back.”

The Australians have a chance to counter that on Sunday in singles. Ogilvy plays Haas in the fourth group, with Day taking on Mahan in the next match. That is followed by Phil Mickelson against Scott, Allenby vs. David Toms and Baddeley against Tiger Woods.

If Allenby loses against Toms, he will join American John Huston as the captain’s picks who didn’t gain a point. Huston was part of the American team that lost in 1998 at Royal Melbourne

With just 1 1/2 points scored between them, Allenby and Baddeley are in danger of setting a record for fewest cumulative points scored by a team’s captain’s picks - although Haas (1-2-1) and Woods (1-3-0) haven’t done much better, earning 2-1/2 points.

“It’s going to have to be a remarkable day tomorrow,” Scott said. “But we have a shot. That’s all we can ask for. It’s not over.”


Watch wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidents Cup live on Golf Channel. Tournament air times: Golf Channel Saturday 6:30PM-12:30AM. NBC coverage Saturday at 8AM and Sunday at noon. (Note: all times are ET)