FILE PHOTO: Golf – Masters – Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, Georgia, U.S. – April 14, 2019. Adam Scott of Australia in action on the 4th hole during final round play. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
December 22, 2019
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Home favorite Adam Scott ended a victory drought of nearly four years on Sunday when he eased to a two-stroke win at the Australian PGA Championship.
Overnight leader by a stroke, the former world no. 1 shot a three-under 69 to finish with a 13-under total of 275 at Royal Pine Resort for his first win since the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship in Florida.
It was also Scott’s second win in the A$1.5 million ($1.03 million) event on the Gold Coast, having claimed the 2013 trophy with a four-stroke win over American Rickie Fowler.
“There were opportunities for everyone but I was the one who took them today so I’m stoked with this,” a beaming Scott said after tapping in the winning putt.
“This has been a long time coming but I’m really happy to win another PGA here.”
Australia’s first Masters champion began slowly and fell back into a chasing pack after bogeying the eighth hole.
New Zealander Michael Hendry snatched the outright lead on the back nine but Scott rose to the challenge with a birdie on the par-three 14th and an eagle on the par-five 15th to give himself a two-stroke cushion.
Runner-up Hendry cut Scott’s lead to a stroke by curling in a birdie on the 16th but crashed out with bogeys on the last two holes to allow the Australian a carefree walk up the 18th fairway.
The win was a relief for Scott, who had played his most consistent season in years but was frustrated by two runner-up finishes on the U.S. tour in 2019.
He had also tasted disappointment last week at the Presidents Cup as a member of the International team that was overhauled on the final Sunday by the Tiger Woods-captained United States at Royal Melbourne.
“The old dog has wised up a little,” he quipped.
“To finish it off, kind of off the back of the (Presidents Cup), was really good and I’m very excited for next year.”
Double defending champion Cameron Smith’s bid for a hat-trick of titles at the European Tour co-sanctioned event never got going on Sunday as he battled through a bogey-laden 70.
The 26-year-old Australian finished tied for 10th, six strokes behind Scott.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Sam Holmes)