It had been a while since Adam Scott had won a tournament in his native Australia, 2,226 days to be exact. But that wait is over. With a three-under 69 on Sunday at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the country’s Gold Coast, the World No. 18 is now a two-time Australian PGA champion. Scott’s 13-under-par 275 total was two shots better than New Zealand’s Michael Hendry. A group of five that included former Australian Open winner Cameron Davis and former U.S. Amateur champ Nick Flanagan tied for third, three shots behind Scott.
All of which is but the end result of a fluctuating day’s play in Scott’s home state of Queensland. With 10 holes to play, as many as four men—Scott, Hendry, Wade Ormsby and Flanagan—were tied for the lead on ten under par. One hole later, Scott, Hendry and Flanagan were heading the race for the title. And one hole after that, Hendry’s was the only name atop the leader board.
All the while, Scott was performing in familiar fashion. Tee-to-green, the 39-year-old was all but immaculate, apart from an unscheduled visit to the left of the drivable eighth green that led to a bogey. But, as so often happens to the former Masters champ, the putts for birdie were generally proving elusive.
Only over the last five holes did Scott make the decisive move. A birdie from 10 feet at the short 14th was followed by what proved to be a decisive eagle from a similar distance at the par-5 15th. Hendry wasn’t quite done, but a bogey at the penultimate hole followed his deuce at the par-3 16th. Suddenly armed with a two-shot advantage, Scott’s closing bogey, one matched by his closest pursuer, was relevant only to statisticians.
“I’m pretty stoked,” said an emotional Scott on earning his 11th career European Tour title. “I grinned it out this week, and I feel like I outsmarted the course a little bit. Which feels good, and it was good enough to beat everyone. It’s been a long time between drinks for me. Maybe once or twice it has crossed my mind that I might not win again. So it feels good to win here, especially to finish off the year at home.
“It’s very difficult to win,” continued Scott, whose last win at home came at the Australian Masters in November 2013. “I’m on the wrong side of this age thing now. These young guys are really good. Just being alright doesn’t really get you in. You’ve got to be pretty much sensational.”
Elsewhere, two visiting Americans, former Open champion Stewart Cink and big-hitting Cameron Champ, performed steadily but without real distinction. Cink finished T-22 on four under par. Champ was one shot worse, coming in T-27.