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View From Australia: Australian Open Golf highlights Aussie Sporting Week

Adam Scott

Australian sporting punters have turned their attention from the red ball to a little white one, with the Australian summer of golf teeing off this week at Royal Sydney.

The main part of the Australian tour consists of just three short weeks featuring the Australian Open in Sydney, the World Cup of Golf at Kingston Heath in Melbourne and the Australian PGA on the Gold Coast.

A field of 156 will contest the Australian Open this week, with world No. 5 Jordan Spieth, who won this tournament two years ago, the pre-tournament favourite at $4 (+300). The American's greatest challenge is likely to come from world No. 7 Adam Scott, who won this tournament in 2009 and is the leading local hope at $4.50 (+350).

There are a host of other quality golfers fighting to lift the Stonehaven Cup, including 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy ($19/+1800) as well as dual Australian Open champs Aaron Baddeley ($21/+2000) and Greg Chalmers ($34/+3400).

There is no Test cricket this week, which most Australian fans will be thankful for after the Aussies slumped to a 2-0 Test series deficit against South Africa.

National pride can be rescued in Europe and the United Kingdom, with the Wallabies playing France as they search for a European Grand Slam in rugby union, while the national rugby league team, the Kangaroos, play in the Four Nations final in Liverpool against New Zealand.

The Wallabies, who were lucky to beat Scotland last week, are $1.65 (-154) to defeat the always unpredictable French, who are $2.25 (+125).

The 13-man rugby league contest is expected to be more clear-cut with the Kangaroos at $1.25 (-400) against the Kiwis who are $4 (+300)

Domestically, the local soccer and basketball competitions roll on. In the A-League soccer, unbeaten Sydney FC ($2.40/+140)) are looking to equal the record for the best start to a season when they play Brisbane Roar ($2.75/+175) in the weekend's feature match.

In the NBL, the ladder-leading Sydney Kings, who have bloomed under the guidance of coach Andrew Gaze, the former NBA player and Australian basketball legend, face tough away and home clashes against the reigning champions, the Perth Wildcats.

Sydney are $1.72 (-139) favourites to win the match in Perth and are $1.56 (-179) to win when Perth visits them on Saturday.

In horse racing, the Melbourne spring carnival may be over, but there's Group 1 racing in Perth with the Railway Stakes, while the provincial city of Ballarat hosts its annual Cup meeting in Victoria.

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