Scott beats Poulter by four shots to win Masters
MELBOURNE (AFP) –
Adam Scott donned his first Australian Masters gold winner’s jacket when he beat England’s Ian Poulter by four shots on Sunday and said it made up “in a small way” for his capitulation at the British Open.
Australia’s top-ranked golfer blew a four-shot lead over the last four holes at Royal Lytham in July but said after his Masters win he had to put it quickly out of his mind.
“I had to or otherwise I could never have come back to a golf course,” Scott said after a final round 67 gave him a tournament total of 17-under 271 around Melbourne’s Kingston Heath.
Scott began the day trailing defending champion Poulter by a shot but Europe’s Ryder Cup hero could only manage a final round 72.
Scott said he was pleased he could “blow away” any negative thoughts that could have crept in from Royal Lytham once he found himself in a winning position although he realised the Australian Masters was a much smaller stage.
“I did not want to let another opportunity slip by. It was good to get back in that position and close a tournament out,” said Scott, who in the process also won his first tournament of the year.
“Winning is a habit but winning a Major is all I’m out here to do and this is part of the process.
“It’s not easy to win golf tournaments you don’t win very often. That (winning a Major) has been my focus for the last few years and I’ve always said that.
“Maybe I can get a set of these winners’ jackets. Maybe I can make it a green one (for winning the Masters at Augusta) by this time next year.”
Scott said he was thrilled to finally win an Australian Masters and an event he watched his childhood hero, Greg Norman, win on six occasions.
“I was beaten in a playoff in 2002 and 2003 so it’s nice to finally win one on my favourite Australian golf course,” he said.
Poulter said a couple of critical errors cost him on the back nine holes.
Among them was what he described as “the fatal mistake” of stretching over a tap-in par putt on 17 to avoid standing on Scott’s line.
He missed and Scott led by three shots as the marquee pair walked to the last tee.
Poulter was irritated by a suggestion that Scott was vulnerable under pressure.
“He’s the world number five. Give the guy a bit of respect,” he snapped at reporters. “He’s just shot 10 under on the weekend around this golf course.”
Scott and Poulter said the golf they played over the last two rounds at Kingston Heath was world class. They had 27 birdies between over the weekend.
The two highest-ranked players in the tournament finished well clear of the rest of the field.
New Zealanders Gareth Paddison and Mark Brown shared third at nine under — eight shots behind the winner.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell had a 71 to finish in a tie for eighth and said Scott and Poulter seemed to be playing “a different golf course out there this week”.
“It’s unbelievable they had 17 birdies between them on Saturday,” the 2010 US Open champion said.
“Ian’s (Poulter’s) confidence is high after his form in the Ryder Cup and a win in the HSBC event in China. And Adam is one of the most impressive players in the world,” he said.
“My goal this week was to get my swing back on track and I’ve managed to do that.”
McDowell said a second round five-over 77 had cost him any chance of figuring in the finish this weekend.