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Scrivener hopes to take Major learnings into U.S. Open return at Pinehurst

Scrivener hopes to take Major learnings into U.S. Open return at Pinehurst

By Mathieu Wood

A U.S. Open is often said to be the toughest test in golf. Jason Scrivener made his Major Championship debut at one and can attest to its uncompromising nature as he prepares to compete among the sport’s elite on the same stage again.

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Jason Scrivener is one of five Australian golfers set to tee it up at next week's U.S. Open

In 2018, the Australian missed the cut on his Major bow at the revered Shinnecock Hills, set on Long Island, New York, after coming through Final Qualifying at Walton Heath.

Then, a year on from Erin Hills yielding the record-equalling lowest winning score of 16-under-par, the tables turned for the world’s best, and the scores proved it as one over proved the winning total.

Now, six years on, Scrivener is preparing for his fifth Major start at Pinehurst No. 2, North Carolina, through the same route and confident the experiences he has gained in between will serve him well as he hopes to use the opportunity ahead of him as a platform to turn the course of his season on the DP World Tour for the better.

“With each Major I play, you learn, and you grow as a player,” he told the DP World Tour ahead of his first Major start since playing all four rounds in the The 150th Open at St Andrews in 2022.

“It was one of my goals of the start the year to at least play one Major, so it's nice to tick that off and you never know where it leads to.

“So, if I can have a good week next week, it's worth a lot of points and will help me for the season. So, only positives.”

When asked to reflect on the key takeaways from his previous Major starts, with his best result a tie for 23rd at the US PGA Championship in 2021, he added: "I remember I got off to a terrible start [at the U.S. Open in 2018]. I was just really impatient early on.

"That's something I'll take into this one is that element of patience that you need. If you make a bogey or two early on, it really doesn't matter.

"You just have to be smart and accept you're not going to be perfect. Everyone is going to make mistakes, especially at the U.S. Open. You're going to get penalised for some good shots even and severely punished for some bad shots."

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Scrivener was 29 when he made his first start at a Major Championship in the 2018 U.S. Open

Scrivener is this week teeing it up at the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed, an event co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour where 78 men and 78 women compete for one trophy and one prize fund.

It is perhaps not the preparation for next week's U.S. Open he had envisaged when he secured his place in the 156-player field after rounds of 68-68 at last month's final qualifier in Surrey but the chance to test his game in tournament conditions was something he determined would be to his benefit after missing the cut last week in Germany.

“The original plan was I was going to take the week off, but I spoke to my team a little bit about how I've been,” he reflected.

“I feel like I've been a bit rusty and haven't been in form, so I figured it was probably a good opportunity to test my game in a tournament and try to play my way into a bit of form.

"It's hard to replicate that feeling of testing my golf swing under the pump to get fully sharp in an off week.

"I'm just looking for a couple of things in my game and if I can start to see some positive signs I think it will really help me build some confidence for next week."

After hitting the turn with a two-over-par 38 on Thursday, Scrivener will have taken encouragement from a bogey-free back nine that included two birdies to end his opening round at level par.

But with home favourite Sebastian Söderberg out in front on nine under, a strong second round will be required if he is to be around for all four rounds at Vasatorps Golfklubb in Helsingborg.

Scrivener, a two-time Qualifying School graduate in 2014 and 2015, has played largely on the DP World Tour ever since and amassed 227 events along the way.

Still chasing an elusive first DP World Tour title, his career-best finish remains his runner-up finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in 2021.

So far this season, his best performance came on home soil at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open with a tie for eighth, his sole top ten on the ongoing Race to Dubai.

While he may sit outside the top 100 on the season-long rankings, Scrivener is full of hope for what lies ahead, including the ‘Back 9’ events which begin in August and offer increased Race to Dubai points and the chance to qualify for the DP World Tour Play-Offs.

“While I’m not a huge goal setter, I've set myself some process goals that I want to achieve," he said.

"Although the first three quarters of the season are very important, you can really make or break your season over the Back Nine events.

"It's not been the start to the year that that I wanted, but it's kind of nice knowing that all it takes are a few good weeks at the end of the year to really change the season."

Scrivener is set to be one of five Australian players in the field at next week's U.S. Open, alongside Major Champions Jason Day and Cameron Smith along with Rolex Series winner Min Woo Lee and fellow qualifier Cameron Davis.

"At most of the Majors, the Aussies try and have a practice round together, so something I'm going to do over the next couple of days is to message them and see see if we can line up a game," he said.

Geoff Ogilvy was the last Australian to win the U.S. Open in 2006, while a year earlier it was New Zealander Michael Campbell who hoisted the trophy aloft at Pinehurst after coming through Final Qualifying at Walton Heath earlier that year.

"I watched Campbell a lot growing up," said Scrivener of the eight-time DP World Tour winner who now plays on the PGA TOUR Champions.

"I remember him winning [at Pinehurst] vividly. So, it's a pretty cool story as well with him coming through at Walton Heath."

Scrivener will have plenty of support out on the course rooting for him, with his wife Simone making the trip to join him.

"It'll be really nice for my wife to have a break," he joked. "We have two young boys, one is two and a half and the other is 15 months old, so it's been pretty hectic at home. It'll be nice to just spend some time with her and play a Major."

The hope will be that when he arrives at Pinehurst, he does so on the back of a confidence-boosting performance in Sweden and in the knowledge it might be the week that transforms his outlook on what he can achieve for the rest of the season.

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