Adam Scott has emerged from a crowded list of contenders to win his second Australian PGA Championship title – his first win anywhere in almost four years.
The former world No.1 carded a closing three-under-par 69 to follow rounds of 70, 67 and 69 to win at 13 under, finishing two strokes clear of New Zealand’s Michael Hendry (69), who led by a shot with six holes to play.
Seven players were within two of the lead on the back nine at Royal Pines, before overnight leader Scott nailed a birdie at the 14th and an eagle at the 15th to set up his victory.
Scott enjoyed a three-shot lead on the 18th tee and, like playing partners Nick Flanagan and Wade Ormsby, who dropped into a five-way tie for third, he had to settle for a three-putt bogey as he clinched another Australian PGA title to go with his 2013 success.
It was the 39-year-old Scott’s 30th victory worldwide but his first since he won the Honda Classic and WGC-Cadillac Championship back to back in the US in early 2016.
“I am stoked with this. It has been a long time coming,” said Scott.
Nursing sore ribs, Hendry battled through the pain to make up the two-shot advantage Scott held on Saturday night and led by one at the turn.
Both men missed a series of birdie putts as left-field contenders gathered just below them and Flanagan – chasing a win to earn European Tour status next year – briefly shared the lead at 12-under.
Flanagan faltered though while Scott saved par at the 12th, despite hitting his drive deep into tree roots and taking a drop.
A fine approach to the 14th gave him birdie to draw level and a better one on the 15th meant an eagle as Hendry, one group ahead, trod water and then dropped shots on the last two holes.
The eagle on 15 was Scott’s third at the hole in his four rounds.
Scott found himself in a gully behind the green on the 17th but bravely putted up the slope for a tap-in par that allowed some breathing space on the final hole.
He is hoping his success will open the door for more victories in 2020 after knocking on the door several times this year with two runner-up finishes among nine top-10s as he climbed back into world’s top 20 rankings.
Already eyeing next year’s Masters at Augusta National, where he won in 2013, the Queenslander will take a few weeks off before resuming on the US tour.
Cameron Davis shot a five-under 67 to move into equal third at 10-under with China’s Yuan Yechun, Flanagan and Ormsby, while Andrew Dodt (68) crept into the top 10 at nine-under and 18-year-old Korean Minkyu Kim had 67 on Sunday to finish at eight-under.