Golf

Scott ends 4-year spell with Australian PGA title

Home crowd behind him as he holds off Kiwi Hendry by 2 strokes for 30th title

A "stoked" Adam Scott won his first tournament in almost four years yesterday, keeping his cool on the back nine of the European Tour co-sanctioned Australian PGA Championship to clinch a two-shot victory.

The Australian world No. 18 had posted more than 20 top-10 finishes since his last success at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March 2016 in Miami, where he beat Bubba Watson by a shot.

In front of his home crowd at Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast, the former world No. 1 Scott sank a birdie on the 14th and an eagle at the next to hold off New Zealander Michael Hendry.

It was Scott's second Australian PGA title after romping to victory in 2013 ahead of American Rickie Fowler, and partly made amends for his bitter disappointment at being on the losing team at last week's Presidents Cup. It was the 30th title of his professional career.

"After a good save on 12, it was time to do something, I was behind," said Scott, after a three-under 69 gave him a 13-under winning total of 275.

"There were opportunities for everyone and I was the one who took them today.

"I'm stoked with it, it's been a long time coming. I'm really happy to win another PGA here.

"It's been a long time between drinks for me and maybe only once or twice did the thought cross my mind that I'll never win again. It's very difficult to win and I'm on the wrong side of this age thing now."

The 39-year-old, who grew up on the Gold Coast, credited the crowd support for helping him finally get back into the winner's circle.

"The support has been great, I've had friends and family here, a lot of familiar faces out there, a lot of familiar voices yelling at me," he said.

"It was really fun and caps off a nice year for me. I drew on my experience.

"I've been seeing good things in my game for eight or nine months really. Belief is a big thing and, eventually, you just have to get it done and today was my opportunity."

Australia's first Masters champion came into the final round with a one-shot lead over Hendry, but began slowly and fell back into a chasing pack after bogeying the eighth hole.

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.

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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 US tour this season.

He had also tasted disappointment last week at the Presidents Cup as a member of the International team that were 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." - AFP, AP, REUTERS

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