By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A year-ending tour of Australia has become an unlikely launching pad to a season of triumph for some of golf's brightest stars, so Adam Scott is hoping his home courses can work their magic again for his own game.
The former world number one has had an underwhelming year by his own lofty standards and arrived Down Under this week feeling some pressure to clinch a title and maintain his proud record of at least one tournament win every year dating back to 2001.
Scott should fancy his chances at the Australian Masters which tees off at Melbourne's storied Huntingdale Golf Club on Thursday, where he will bid to win his third trophy in four years against a modest field of local professionals.
The Australian Open in Sydney next week offers a tougher challenge, however, and the prospect of a mouthwatering battle with American world number one and defending champion Jordan Spieth.
Scott has previously arrived in Australia searching for answers and found them on the sunbaked greens of Melbourne's sandbelt in 2012, when he won his first Australian Masters trophy at Kingston Heath.
Edging Briton Ian Poulter in a tense shoot-out helped Scott ease some of the disappointment of his British Open meltdown that year, when he gave up a four-stroke lead in the last four holes to blow his best chance at a maiden major championship.
Months later, he was the toast of Australia after becoming his country's first player to win a U.S. Masters at the 2013 tournament.
"All events are important, but when you're looking for that momentum to get back in the winner's circle, these (tournaments) play a big role in that," he said.
"I can think of a lot of guys who have really kickstarted great runs by winning in Australia, and I did it in 2012."
Former world number one Rory McIlroy can also swear by the restorative powers of a trip Down Under, having ended a miserable 2013 with a win at the Australian Open at Royal Sydney Golf Club.
McIlroy would go on to win two of the following year's four majors and recapture the world number one ranking.
Spieth then stole the show from both McIlroy and Scott at last year's Australian Open, his second professional win leading into his astonishing 2015 season in which he also won two of the four majors.
"Yeah, it's on my mind," Scott said of his record of tournament wins going back to 2001.
"I'd love to (continue) it. Just got to go out and put four good days together, and that's something I haven't really done."
(Editing by John O'Brien)