Scott claims Aussie crown

 

Adam Scott survived a late scare to claim the Stonehaven Cup by five shots over Stuart Appleby after a tense final round at the Australian Open at NSW Golf Club.

Having led by as many as seven shots after 12 holes, the Queenslander opened the door for Appleby with bogeys at the 13th, 14th and 16th holes to lead by just three with two to play.

But the 29-year-old held his nerve with a regulation par three at the 17th before finishing in style with a birdie at the closing hole to get to level par for the day and seal his first professional victory on home soil.

"I'm so proud to be a national champion of my own country," a relieved Scott said.

"It's the pinnacle really. Just thinking of the names that (are) on there (the Stonehaven Cup).

"I'm so happy to be on there and (it's) something I will treasure forever.

"Over the last few years there was a lot of coverage about me not winning down here but playing so well everywhere else. I always thought I'd get my chance, it's so bizarre this game... that off the back of such a bad year I finally play good enough to win down here - it's a crazy game.

"This week was really good. I stuck with it and worked hard today. I made some great putts through the round which gave me a bit of a buffer which I needed coming in.

"I feel like I've been working really hard and it pays off. You've got to stick with it."

Appleby fought to the death but struggled to find the form which saw him open the tournament with consecutive 66s, battling to a three-over 75 to finish in outright second at 10 under for the championship.

"He's had a shocker as well and there's no doubt this will give him a huge dose of what he used to feel like," Appleby said of Scott.

"There's no doubt his confidence has been massively eroded - I (have) seen it, I've played with him. I have a rough idea of how he feels.

"This form has not happened overnight, he certainly brought this into the tournament. He's a very, very talented player and, like myself, he's back on the saddle."

The day began disastrously for Scott who saw his two-shot lead disappear at the opening hole, but he bounced back strongly with three birdies in his next four holes to retain control of the tournament heading into the back nine.

He increased his lead at the par-four 10th, sinking a long-range putt for birdie to lead by six shots at that stage before his nerves took hold on the way to the clubhouse.

American Bryce Molder carded a four-under 68 to finish in a share of third place with New Zealander Michael Long and Western Australian Nick O'Hern at six under overall.

A closing birdie helped young gun Michael Sim to a one-under 71 and outright sixth at five under, one clear of Cameron Percy and Rod Pampling who both carded 69s to get to four under alongside Victorian Jarrod Lyle.

Queensland's Henry Epstein made the most of benign morning conditions to fire the round of the day - a five-under 67 - finishing at one under.

American John Daly kept the large galleries that followed his every move thoroughly entertained, posting a respectable final round of 71 to finish at two over overall alongside former Stonehaven Cup winner Aaron Baddeley.

Pre-tournament favourite Geoff Ogilvy finished an otherwise disappointing week in style with a four-under 68 to get to plus-three overall, while New Zealander Ben Campbell finished as the leading amateur at five- over in a share of 40th after a closing 77.

Collated final round scores & totals

(Aus unless stated, par 72):

273Adam Scott 68 66 67 72

278Stuart Appleby 66 66 71 75

282Michael Long (Nzl) 69 75 68 70, Bryce Molder (USA) 70 72 72 68, Nick O'Hern 69 68 71 74

283Michael Sim 71 70 71 71

284Jarrod Lyle 69 68 74 73, Rodney Pampling 74 71 70 69, Cameron Percy 74 75 66 69

285David Oh (USA) 68 73 69 75, Peter O'Malley 69 74 70 72

286Chris Campbell 71 69 73 73, Scott Strange 72 70 68 76, Richard Green 73 71 67 75, James Nitties 67 72 70 77, Terry Pilkadaris 71 70 76 69, Tim Wilkinson (Nzl) 73 67 72 74

287Henry Epstein 76 72 72 67, Craig Parry 80 67 69 71, Leigh Mckechnie 70 72 74 71

288Michael Brennan 69 73 75 71, Greg Chalmers 70 72 72 74, Brad Kennedy 75 70 70 73

289Paul Gow 78 69 69 73, Mathew Goggin 73 71 71 74, Stephen Allan 68 77 74 70, Paul Sheehan 74 74 72 69

290Aaron Baddeley 73 68 76 73, John Daly (USA) 72 69 78 71, Stephen Leaney 73 72 74 71

291Michael Curtain 71 69 78 73, Andrew Dodt 69 78 73 71, Geoff Ogilvy 73 76 74 68

292Jae-woong Eom (Kor) 71 71 76 74, Marc Leishman 71 75 73 73, Chang wan Woo (Can) 73 74 75 70, Anthony Brown 77 72 74 69, Andrew Tschudin 73 70 72 77, Rohan Blizard 78 71 71 72

293Scott Laycock 76 69 76 72, Scott Hend 66 71 80 76, Ben Campbell (Nzl) 76 68 72 77, Matthew Millar 71 75 71 76

294Josh Carmichael 73 69 77 75, Peter Nolan 74 74 77 69, Stephen Dartnell 75 72 76 71, Peter Wilson 67 78 74 75, Do eun An (Kor) 73 74 76 71

295Jason Norris 79 69 74 73, Andrew Mckenzie 75 74 74 72, Gareth Paddison (Nzl) 73 72 73 77, Scott Arnold 72 75 74 74, Anthony Summers 79 69 75 72, Stuart Bouvier 72 71 73 79

296Gavin Flint 70 74 73 79

297Paul Marantz 71 75 75 76, Won-Kyung Heo (Kor) 73 74 75 75, Heath Reed 71 71 77 78

298Michael McGrath 72 71 80 75, Terry Price 74 71 83 70

299Min-chang Lee (Kor) 75 73 73 78

300Brendan Smith 74 67 76 83

302Rudi Bezuidenhout 72 72 84 74, Brendan Stuart (Nzl) 72 74 77 79

307Matthew Stieger 72 75 75 85, Mithun Perera 77 70 78 82

308Kelvin Jones (Nzl) 73 74 81 80

310Kim Felton 76 73 75 86