THE Australian PGA Championship was on later than usual in 2020 but in the end it meant an early Christmas present for Adam Scott who broke an almost four year long drought to take his second Joe Kirkwood Cup.
On a crowded final day leaderboard at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast the former world number one and 2013 US Masters winner showed his class coming down the stretch to snatch the title with a late surge.
The 39 year old local hero started the final round with a one stroke lead but after an opening birdie wavered as others, including New Zealander Michael Hendry, Wade Ormsby and Nick Flanagan either took the outright lead or jointly threatened the title.
Scott showed the nerve gained in 29 worldwide wins when needed, with a strong par save on 12, on birdie on 14 then an inspiring eagle on 15 to take a two shot lead.
When Hendry faltered with two late bogeys Scott only needed a bogey on the last for a 13-under, two stroke victory.
Scott joined the select few to hoist the Joe Kirkwood Cup for a second time, and celebrated his 30th win worldwide, a win he was beginning to wonder might never come again.
“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,” Scott said after ending a winless streak stretching back three years, nine months and 16 days to the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March 2016.
“It’s very difficult to win. I’m on the wrong side of this age thing now where these young guys are really good. I played some pretty good golf a couple weeks this year and fell short. You know, record setting scores.
“The courses are getting tougher, guys are playing good. Just being all right doesn’t really get you in, you’ve got to be pretty much sensational.”
Scott’s stated main focus for a number of years now has been to put more Major championship victories in the trophy cabinet and throughout the week he alluded to the need for a win to help build momentum going into 2020.
Sharing the spoils of victory with his wife and two children over the Christmas break was an added bonus.
“That will be fun for my daughter because she’s asked all year for a trophy, so I’ve not been able to deliver,” Scott said of his early Christmas present.
“So that will be fun for me tonight, see if that makes her happy.
“It’s big for the confidence. 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 onto the course in LA.
“At the end of 2012, I won the Masters in Melbourne and then off some good golf where I didn’t win and what that kicked me onto in ’13 and on.
“You know, there’s a lot of confidence from a win and I’ll look forward to enjoying that.
“There’s a long way to go, but it’s nice to have reassurance and the belief of winning.
“You want to be in contention and you want to find out how you feel and how you respond and I got some of that today.
“If I happen to be in that position someday at the Masters, I can draw on today and past experience, but this is a little more fresh than going back to 2016 and trying to remember how I felt.”
Despite dropped shots at 17 and 18 Hendry held on to finish outright second at 11-under par with 2017 Australian Open winner Cameron Davis, China’s Yuan Yechun, Ormsby, Flanagan and Min Woo Lee all locked together in a tie for third at 10-under par.