Scott and Poulter battle it out at Australian Masters
LIKE two heavyweight boxers, Adam Scott and Ian Poulter went blow-for-blow for 11 holes in the final round of the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath.
But in the end it was the Aussie who stood triumphant, shooting a five-under par round of 67 to finish on 18-under, four shots clear of the Englishman who was in turn four shots ahead of Kiwis Gareth Paddison and Mark Brown in third place.
Scott, the world No.5, came into the tournament off the back of a consistent year, but also without a victory for 15 months.
"It's a tournament I've been wanting to win since I was a kid, and watching since I was really young," the Queenslander said.
"My swing was great all week. Today it was very good - I just went out there and tried to play instinctive golf.
"It's probably been the only week of the year, maybe one other, where I've put four really solid rounds together, and the result showed."
Poulter started the day at 13-under, one shot ahead of his playing partner, but that situation was quickly reversed after Scott made birdies on the first two holes and the Englishman could manage only pars.
Poulter then made birdie on three and when Scott dropped a shot on the fourth, things were back where they started.It didn't stay like that for long, however.
The Aussie's long-handled putter was working like a magician's wand and he drained several long putts for par or birdie to move to 16-under after 11 holes, one clear of Poulter who was also playing brilliantly.
The turning point of the two-man war came on the 525m par five 12th hole where both players drove into fairway bunkers.
But while Scott played a six iron out and ended up making a regulation par, Poulter ambitiously opted for a hybrid club.
It turned out to be a costly decision as the ball slammed into the lip and hopped into another bunker just metres ahead.
He ended with a bogey, which could have been worse had he not made a great putt from off the green.Poulter defended his club choice afterwards, saying he was adamant it hadn't been too risky.
"It wasn't a mistake in club selection, it was a poor swing," he said.
When Poulter compounded that mistake by failing to get up and down after hitting his approach long on the 14th, Scott's advantage was out to three and the contest was as good as over.
The Englishman dropped another shot on 17 when he carelessly missed a tap-in for par, before the Aussie finished in style with another great birdie putt on 18.
Scott said he would play in the Australian Open at The Lakes in Sydney from December 6, but added he would skip the PGA Championship on the Sunshine Coast the following week.
5:271: Adam Scott 67, 70, 67, 67.275: Ian Poulter 67, 72, 64, 72.279: Gareth Paddison 71, 71, 69, 68; Mark Brown 72, 71, 67, 69.282: Adam Crawford 72, 76, 69, 65.