John Senden is out to rectify an anomaly on his golfing CV.
A two-time winner on the US PGA Tour and former Australian Open champion, Senden has been among Australia’s most consistent performers for more than a decade.
But the 44-year-old has never truly been in the mix on the back nine on Sunday at any of the sport’s four annual majors.
He’s had top-10 finishes at the Masters, PGA and US Open, but never seriously threatened down the stretch.
Senden is hoping that all changes this weekend at St Andrews.
Heartened by improved putting – for so long his Achilles heel – and a decent equal 22nd placing at the Scottish Open on Sunday, Senden enters The Open Championship at the home of golf with designs not only on contending, but raising the Claret Jug.
“I’ve just got to go out there and believe I can get it done,” Senden said after a practice round at the famous links layout on Monday.
“I feel like I’m playing steady. This year’s been sort of hot and cold with my results, so I’ve just got to know that I can keep getting amongst it.
“The golf course is in great shape. I’ve just got to keep doing my job well and hopefully that’s good enough to be able to stand on the stage at the end of the day.”
In a further confidence booster, countryman Greg Chalmers nominated sweet-swinging Senden, with his laser-like iron play, above more-celebrated pair Adam Scott and Jason Day as Australia’s best title chance.
“This course favours someone who moves it left to right off the tee, but right to left into the greens,” Chalmers said.
“Or someone who’s at least prepared to take tighter lines down the right sides of all the holes to get good angles into the left flag, so it’s a real good test.
“I think it would be a great week for John Senden. He’s been playing really nicely this year, really solid. A good ball-striker.
“When you get this turf that’s really tight and it really suits someone who can compress the ball, and Johnny comes to mind.”
Senden, who tied for 48th in his last appearance at St Andrews in 2010, feels his game – and most specifically his work on the greens – is in much better shape this time around.
“I’ve been proving it with my putting results, over the last three or four I’ve been getting a lot better with it,” said the world No.51.
“Hence the better results on the tour and I know that I can do a better job this year than I did last time I was here.”