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Robert Allenby aiming for Australian sweep

Robert Allenby is riding the crest of a wave that he hopes will help him complete Australian golf's "triple crown" this weekend.

Allenby has already won the Australian Open and Australian PGA titles in the past month and is the favourite for the Australian Masters, starting at Huntingdale on Thursday.

The U.S.-based Australian is bidding to become the first player to win his country's three biggest tournaments in the same season and is relishing the chance.

"I'd like to create a little bit of history -- it would be a great way to end the year," he told reporters.

"I know I can do it. Every time I come down to Australia, I always feel I could win all three."

Allenby's performances over the past few weeks have been all the more remarkable because he has been troubled by a painful hand injury.

He almost pulled out of the Open on the eve of the final round but played on to win by a stroke and claim his second national championship.

A week later he birdied the final hole at Coolum in Queensland to win the PGA, also by a single shot, for the third time in six years.

The 34-year-old also won the Masters two years ago and said he was more optimistic about winning it this year than he was about the Open and PGA.

"I thought coming down to Australia I thought the Masters was the one I had the best chance in, and I've gone and won the other two," he said.

"Hopefully I can hold on for one more week and keep the form going."

Richard Green, who won the Masters last year when Peter Lonard was also chasing the triple crown, said Allenby had the game and the form to make it three in a row.

"He's obviously playing great golf and got himself into the right positions at the right times in the last two tournaments," Green said.

"His strength and experience has taken him through and he's closed the deal.

"He'll be difficult to beat again and the one to watch throughout the week."

Stuart Appleby also said it was not beyond Allenby, despite his hand injury.

"Robert's a great player and he's just shown that with what he's done over the past couple of weeks," Appleby said.

"I don't think it's an incredibly big ask of him to win again at the Masters.

"We know what physical problems he has had throughout the year and that leads to mental problems.

"So much of the game is psychological that when you are able to psych yourself up, it doesn't really matter whether you have some nagging physical problem, you can still perform really well."

December 7, 2005

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