SYDNEY (Reuters) - World number two Adam Scott was left “gutted” on Sunday after the Midas touch deserted him and he blew a chance to cap the best year of his career with a rare Australian “triple crown” at Royal Sydney.
Everything Scott touched had turned to gold since he arrived back home last month for a four-tournament swing that quickly turned into a triumphant celebration of his becoming the first Australian to win the U.S. Masters.
Huge crowds thronged the courses as he won the Australian PGA in front of his friends and family on the Gold Coast and backed up for the first time in his career with a victory at the Australian Masters the following week.
His third place at the World Cup of Golf helped his country lift the trophy for the fifth time and he headed to the Australian Open bidding to do what only Robert Allenby had done before and win all of his country’s marquee titles in one year.
A course record 10-under-par 62 in his first round at Royal Sydney gave him a three-stroke lead and, playing some brilliant golf, he topped the leaderboard for all but two holes over the rest of the tournament.
Unfortunately, the second of those two holes was the 72nd and final one of the tournament, where his second bogey of the day allowed Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy to snatch the Stonehaven Cup from his grasp.
“I just made an error on the last, misjudged the wind and hit too much club into the last, so that’s the way it goes,” he told reporters of his approach that soared over the back of the green to leave a tricky up-and-down that he failed to muster.
“I felt I did everything right. I was concerned about how I was going to hit it today because I haven’t been swinging the club very well for the last two weeks and I played really nicely and the putter didn’t behave itself.
“So it’s just the way golf is. I’m gutted. I felt like I never had a better chance to win the Aussie Open but it was tight the whole back nine. Rory played so good.”
Having lipped out or shaved the cup on a string of chances to extend his lead over the back nine, Scott’s distinctive long putter bore the brunt of his frustration.
“Nothing was going my way on the greens today,” he said.
“I could have put this thing away I think early on if the putter was behaving how it should have, like it did the rest of the week but I just misjudged into the last and a player as good as Rory is going to take that opportunity.”
With a crowd of around 20,000 flocking to the course on Sunday, Scott has earned comparisons with Greg Norman in his pomp in terms of his pulling power Down Under.
Although his last hole meltdown reminded some of the Adam Scott who gave up a four-shot lead with four holes to play to hand the British Open to Ernie Els at Royal Lytham in 2012, it is unlikely to dent his popularity too much back home.
Scott said he was not going to let it ruin a stellar season, during which he also won the Barclays.
“It’s been a great year,” he said. “Obviously I didn’t want to finish like that (but) I’ll get over this tonight and look forward to a few weeks rest and get ready to go next year.”
Editing by John O'Brien