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View from Down Under: Aussies Love Augusta

The Augusta National Golf Club may be almost 16,000 kilometres (9,800 miles) away from the east coast of Australia, but this weekend, the distance, and the time difference, will not matter if one of the five Aussies in the field for the year’s first golf major, the Masters, makes a run on the final day.

For those Aussies who are making the trip, and there will be plenty, it takes 21 hours on a plane, plus the requisite transit times plus customs, but it will be worth every minute, and every cent, once the freshly cut grass of the world’s greatest course comes into view.

On the course, even the most ardent Australian golf fan understands that we’ll be fighting an uphill battle to add to the one Masters win by Adam Scott in 2013. That moment when he sunk the 12-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to ensure that the trophy would be heading Down Under for the very first time was a great moment in Australia’s rich golfing history.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is a $7.50 (+650) favorite with Aussie bookmakers to win his first green jacket with the bookies, followed by Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth at $9.50 (+850).

The first of the Australian contingent in the market is Jason Day at $21 (+2000). Adam Scott is a $31 (+3000) to repeat his heroics from 2013 while Marc Leishman is at $51 (+5000) but comes in with the best form of any from Down Under, winning last month’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

On the track, we head to Sydney Royal Randwick racetrack on Saturday, for the second day of The Championships. The huge day will feature four Group 1s, highlighted by the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Superstar mare Winx will run in the feature race and is a $1.10 (-1000) favorite to win her 17th consecutive start. Those looking for more value will look toward one of the other Group 1s, the Australian Oaks (incidentally the last race Winx was beaten in two years ago), the Sydney Cup and the Queen Of The Turf.

While Winx is burning up the track in Sydney, over in Adelaide, the 42nd Showdown will take place at the Adelaide Oval between the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power in the AFL.

It’s no secret that these two dislike each other very much, but what makes this contest even better is that both teams have started the season in superb fashion. Port sits on top of the ladder, and the Crows are second. The bookies have the latter as a strong favorite at $1.49 (-204) with the former at $2.65 (+165).

Round 6 of the National Rugby League kicks off on Thursday night in Brisbane, when the Broncos host the Roosters. Home ground advantage – not ladder position – has seen the punters come for the hosts, who are into $1.80 (-12) with the Roosters at $2.03 (+103).

The penultimate weekend of the A-League regular season kicks off in the sporting capital of the world on Friday when Melbourne City hosts Adelaide United but it’s Saturday’s clash over in New Zealand that will take the spotlight.

Sydney FC has been remarkable this season and is a $1.85 (-118) favorite to beat Wellington Phoenix ($3.70 or +270) on Saturday, which, if they do so, would mean they’ve won a record 20 of 26 matches this season.

That’s not the only big game in New Zealand this weekend, with the Highlanders hosting the Blues in Dunedin in a crucial Super Rugby clash. Both sides head into the game after wins over Australian sides last week. The Highlanders are at $1.45 (-222) with the Blues at $2.75 (+175).

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