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Adam Scott to concentrate on Europe

Adam Scott has decided to abandon a world golf schedule to concentrate on becoming a dominant player on the European tour.

The 20-year-old has returned from the US to England to join a dozen other Australians contesting this week's Benson and Hedges International Open at The Belfry and says he's here to stay.

The £1 million event is the first high-profile tournament of the year on British soil, attracting the big guns of Europe including the British trio of Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie.

Ireland's in-form Padraig Harrington and Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, who tamed Tiger Woods ten weeks ago in Dubai, are also starters.

Fellow Australian young gun Aaron Baddeley will join Scott, competing in his first event on European soil after moderate success in the US.

Scott competed in the United States and Japan since missing the cut in the European tour's Dubai Desert Classic, but said he was now determined to make his mark in Europe where he holds a tour card.

"It's about time I staked my claim over here," said Scott, the winner of the tour's Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa in January.

"I have done an awful lot of travelling already this year but it's time for me to show that I can be a dominant force on the European Tour and that's what I want to strive to achieve.

"I want to get settled over here, squeeze in a couple of trips home, but concentrate on finishing top ten on the Order of Merit, which is still my goal, and if I achieve that I'm into all the majors next year."

In his absence, Scott has dipped to 32nd on the European Tour Order of Merit but if successful a first prize cheque here, he could jump as high as sixth.

Scott also has the added incentive of improving on his fifth-placing in the prestigious British event last year.

His decision is in contrast to good friend Baddeley, who is intent on taking on the tough US PGA Tour rather than beating the once customary path to the States via Europe.

Baddeley, who earned a two-year European Tour exemption after defeating Spain's Sergio Garcia last year in a play-off at the Greg Norman International in Sydney, said he planned to play twice more in Europe - at next month's European Open in Ireland and a fortnight later in the British Open.

The 21-year-old Baddeley's drawing power has been recognised with organisers grouping him for the opening two rounds with the in-form Harrington and Frenchman Jean Van de Velde.

"I'm looking forward to the week because there are a lot of guys here that I really haven't played against before," Baddeley said.

He also believes he's rectified a flaw in his swing that may have hampered him during his most recent disappointing stint in the US.

"I used my lap top to compare my swing when I won the Australian Open at Royal Sydney in 1999 up against my swing on the range on Tuesday and could see the difference," he said.

"So I've feel I have that straightened out and I'm looking forward to the week."

Seasoned countryman Peter O'Malley is still fighting the effects of a head cold, and has upped his medicine dosage in a bid to rediscover his the form that took him to the 1995 title.

"I sound worse than I feel with my voice definitely better than last week," O'Malley said.

"The toughest thing is that it hasn't allowed me to practice the last two weeks, and it's probably the worst I've felt in my pro career."

 


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