Scott wins 'ugly' to defend Australian Masters
By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - World number two Adam Scott stood firm in the face of a fierce charge from Matt Kuchar to defend his home Australian Masters by two strokes on Sunday as the American's challenge crumbled over the closing holes.
Overnight leader by four strokes, U.S. Masters champion Scott had appeared poised to canter to victory on a breezy day at Royal Melbourne, but was forced to grind out the win as Kuchar roared into contention with a scintillating front nine.
After forging two strokes clear by the time he reached the 16th tee, Kuchar fell back into a share of the lead with a bogey on the tough par-four and then handed the initiative to Scott with a double-bogey six after finding sand on the last.
Playing a couple of groups behind the American, Scott was in no mood to give up the two-shot lead he suddenly inherited and was able to soak up the adulation of a massive home gallery when he tapped in a three-foot par putt on the last to seal victory.
"I guess today, sometimes you kind of win a little bit ugly," Scott told reporters after carding a scratchy even-par 71 for a 14-under total of 270 and a winner's cheque worth A$186,000 ($174,100).
"All of the good stuff I'd done in the first three rounds counted for a lot.
"Even though it wasn't the prettiest golf today... I got away with it, but I'll have to learn not to do it next time."
Former world number one Vijay Singh, joint second overnight, was quickly out of the picture after toiling early, leaving the title to be decided by a shoot-out between Scott and Kuchar. Continued...