ADAM Scott ended a three-and-a-half-year wait for his 11th European Tour title, winning the Australian PGA Championship for the second time at RACV Royal Pines Resort.
The 2013 Masters Tournament champion, who won his homeland’s PGA crown that same year, started the final round one stroke ahead of a condensed chasing pack.
But the winner of eight Euorpean Tour events and 13 more in the States trailed as Scott made the turn, while New Zealander Michael Hendry made a charge.
Hendry, who was battling through a rib injury sustained earlier in the week, birdied four holes on the front nine.
He then took the lead with his fifth gain on the 10th, but, after his sixth birdie of the day on the 16th, Hendry dropped to 11-under after bogeys on the 17th and 18th holes.
It wasn’t until Scott rolled in a clinical eagle putt on the par five 15th – his third of the week on the hole – that he moved ahead once again.
The 39-year-old then held on to sign for a three-under par 69 – and a total of 13-under, to finish two strokes ahead of Hendry, ensuring his first title since the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, in Miami – the year the Trump National renovation, that started in 2013, was completed.
Scott, who has two World Golf Championship titles as well has his lone Green Jacket, said: “I’m pretty stoked, actually.
“I grinded it out this week and I feel like I outsmarted the golf 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 and maybe only once or twice did the thought cross my mind that I’ll never win again.
“It feels very good to win here, especially to finish the year off kind of winning at home,” added Scott, whose victory Down Under was the seventh of his 19-year career on home soil.
“I’ve seen what it’s done for me in the past – a win. You feel like you’re just never going to lose again, so you want to run with that while the confidence is up.
“Somehow I’ll have to think that in seven weeks when I step back in LA,” said Scott.
“I think it’s very difficult to win. I’m on the wrong side of this age thing now where these young guys are really good and I played some pretty good golf a couple weeks this year and fell short.
“You know, record‑setting scores. I think the courses are getting tougher, guys are playing good.
“Just being alright doesn’t really get you in, you’ve got to be pretty much sensational,” added the most successful Aussie player since Greg Norman.
Hendry admitted he was just pleased to complete the round and pick up the cheque for
The Kiwi said: “The warm-up was terrible. I honestly thought I wasn’t going to get through the round.
“So quite honestly, my goal was just get through 18 holes and finish the event regardless of what the score was. Lo and behold, I hit it really well.
“It was painful all day and I just kept trying to basically man up and hit the shot.
“Maybe that was the thing that I needed to take my attention away from what was happening on the golf course.
“It was more about trying to make good swings under a little bit of pain, and I made a lot of good swings.
“I’m pretty happy with the way I played considering physically what was going on,” added Hendry, who has six wins in Asia and the Far East since turning pro in 2005, including the Toke Homemate Cup, in Japan, in 2015.
“It’s a shame that I didn’t end up winning, but when you’re not 100 percent and you’re trying to chase down one of the best players in the world, you’re up against it,” said Hendry.
Four Australians, Cameron Davis, Nick Flanagan, Min Woo Lee and Wade Ormsby, shared third place with China’s Carl Yuan on 10-under par.
Min Woo Lee, the former US Junior Champion – who is tipped to be the next superstar from the Antipodes – said: “It was a scrappy start.
“I bogeyed the first two par threes, which wasn’t the best. But I was proud of how I handled myself and I made a lot of good shots on the back nine.
“Seventeen was a little unlucky, then I hit a good shot into 18 and just missed the putt,” added the younger brother of LPGA superstar Minjee Lee.
“It’s just a few putts missed and I’m right in there. It’s a good learning curve.
“I knew I was behind all day,” said Lee. “You know someone is going to make birdies, so I was a little behind the eight ball.
“It was a good effort of me to come back after that start,” said Lee, who produced his best finish since he was fourth in the inaugural Saudi Arabia International, in March, having turned pro at the start of the year.
•For full results in the 2019 Australian PGA Championship click here.