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Presidents Cup

Australians key to International team

The International team's hopes of coming out on top at this week's Presidents Cup could well hinge on the players from Australia.

With five players from Down Under on the 12-man squad, numbers alone dictate that Stuart Appleby, Adam Scott, Nick O'Hern, Mark Hensby and Peter Lonard will have a big say in the final outcome.

World number two Vijay Singh of Fiji and South Africa's Retief Goosen provide the marquee presence on the International team but it is the Australians who will do much of the heavy lifting against a U.S. squad led by Tiger Woods.

Play gets underway Thursday at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course with six foursome matches.

"I can promise you one thing, the Aussies are great competitors," said assistant captain Ian Baker-Finch, another Australian. "They all come in here with big hearts and are trying their butts off and they all are trying to contribute to their team for their team mates.

"That's what they will be doing by playing their best golf. I'm sure Cambo (Michael Campbell of New Zealand) is the same way.

"But I wouldn't say that the hopes of the team rest on the Australians' shoulders, but obviously there's six Australians, New Zealanders, Australasian Tour players here, so we are half the team."

Surrounded by Australians, Campbell has been a target for plenty of good-natured ribbing from his team mates but the New Zealander has shown this year that he is more than capable of holding his own on and off the course.

The butt of several jokes during a Presidents Cup media briefing, the U.S. Open champion delighted in reminding his Aussie team mates of their Ashes failure.

But he quickly made it clear they were all focused on the same objective this week.

"We're all good mates," said Campbell. "The most important thing this week is you've got to gel as a team. We're all very similar personalities, apart from a few (looking at Hensby).

"We're working on it, though," added Campbell with a laugh.

Arriving in Virginia fresh off his victory at the World Match Play Championships in England on Sunday, a weary Campbell said he was ready to do his part and even lead the way if necessary.

"It puts you in a certain mode of play," said Campbell, who beat Ireland's Paul McGinley 2 and 1 in the World Match Play final.

"After playing six rounds, eight rounds of golf of match play certainly helped my mentality for this week, so it's probably a good start for this week preparation wise.

"I'm a little bit tired now, but Thursday I'll be fired up.


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