GREG CHALMERS has his second Australian PGA Championship title after a marathon playoff victory over Adam Scott and Wade Ormsby at the RAVC Royal Pines on the Gold Coast.
The 41 year old shot a magnificent 8-under 64 to tie defending champion Scott (71) and Orsmby (71) in regulation and force what was to become seven extra holes to decide the 2014 title.
Ormsby will be kicking himself after missing a relative sitter on the second playoff hole that would have secured his biggest ever win but it is Scott who would have left the course most frustrated with his putting and pitching performance.
Ormsby was knocked out when both his playoff partners birdied the 18th hole on their third attempt.
As the playoff proceeded Scott was slotting by far the best drives down the 18th but just couldn’t put his approach shots, all mostly from the middle of the fairway around 120 metres or less out, close enough to tap one in. Anything much longer than a tap in and the world No.3 just couldn’t sink one – as has seemingly been the case for most of his three tournament campaign in Australia over the past month.
Meanwhile Chalmers was continually finding bunkers – or in one case wide in the trees – with his tee shots but using his renowned short game skills to get up and down for par.
On their seventh trip down the 18th Scott suffered the indignity of three putting for a bogey that handed the title to the West Australian.
Chalmers won his first PGA crown in 2011 at Coolum when he beat Robert Allenby and Marcus Fraser in another three-way playoff and was exhausted but delighted to eventually win the longest playoff in the history of top level Australian golf.
“That was just phenomenal. I’m worn out,’’ Chalmers said.
“I just wasn’t sure Scotty was ever going to hit a loose shot,” he added. “I was trying to drive it in the fairway; I kept driving it in every bunker.”
“I thought if I’m going to lose this, I want to lose to a birdie.”
“It’s a shame sometimes that that doesn’t work out that way, that someone makes birdie and makes something spectacular but I’m very pleased to be the champion again.”
The key for Chalmers was not to panic.
“My style of golf is never going to be an Adam Scott style of golf,” he said.
“I hit it offline, I don’t panic. I’m going to hit it off line, I did it all week and I did it sometimes today, but I have a short game that I hold in pretty decent regard.”
“I thought just keep making someone win it and today it turns out that a mistake was made and I’m on the trophy.”
With his win Chalmers also sealed the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit earning him starts in the World Golf Championship – Cadillac Championship, Nedbank Golf Challenge and The Open Championship, which he was already exempt into.
The timing couldn’t be better with Chalmers having only conditional status on the UA PGA TOUR for 2015.
“I lost my status in the States this year, I don’t have full status next year so I think this, winning the Order of Merit in Australia helps me,” he said.
“I’m forever thankful to our Tour here for those kinds of exemptions, it’s very important for players and gives us a lot of chances.”
“I like to come back because I love Australia and I’m conscious of the idea that every career has a pathway.”
“My pathway started right here. So I think it’s somewhat, not an obligation but just something, I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Scott blamed his ball striking and not his notoriously streaky putting for the loss.
“I didn’t hit it close enough today to the hole. It wasn’t like I missed 10 footers all day long. When you hit it outside 25 feet there’s almost the same chance you’re going to three putt as two putt,’’ Scott said.
“You’ve got to hit it close and in windy conditions, you don’t. Sometimes hitting a lot of greens and hitting it to 40 feet is a very hard way to play in these conditions. In a play-off it is a lottery. This one went on and on and on.
“The story of the week — I didn’t make any putts. I had so many looks. When you have putts to win the tournament you have to make them.
“I have been in that position before and I have made them before. I know the feeling. You might not get another chance, so when you have them to win you have to make them. But I just didn’t get them in close enough where it was a sure thing to make.’’
New Zealand’s Michael Hendry closed with a 71 to finish fourth at nine-under, one stroke ahead of American Scott Stallings (71) in fifth with his compatriot Boo Weekly (74) alone two strokes further back.
[box style=”rounded”]It was revealed over the week that Adam Scott and his wife, Marie Kojzar, are expecting their first child in February. Scott, who married Kojzar in a private ceremony in the backyard of their home in the Bahamas in April, plans to take nearly two months off and return to the US PGA Tour in February after the birth. ”I’m just going to wing it … I don’t know if I’m prepared but certainly there are plenty of guys out there to lean on if I have any problems,” Scott said of the happy news.[/box]Australian PGA Championship Leaderboard