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Local favourite Adam Scott wins by four shots
November 17, 2012

Local favorite Adam Scott won the $1 million Australian Masters on Sunday, beating Briton Adam Poulter by four strokes at Melbourne's Kingston Heath Golf Club.

The world number five shot a five-under 67 on a windy day to finish with an 17-under total of 271 and clinch his first tournament win for the year after a frustrating season of near-misses.

With daylight separating Poulter and Scott from the rest of the field, the final round was reduced to a match-play battle, with the Australian raising the pressure with a pair of birdies in his opening holes to snatch the lead.

Englishman Poulter took it back briefly but made a hash of the par-fives on the back nine to allow his playing partner to break clear and cruise to victory.

Ian Poulter vaults into lead
November 17, 2012

Defending champion Ian Poulter shot an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Adam Scott after three rounds of the Australian Masters.

Poulter had five birdies on the front nine - four on lengthy putts - and the Englishman had a 54-hole total of 13-under 203 on the Kingston Heath sand-belt course.

Poulter's 9-iron approach on No. 18 nearly holed out from the fairway and he had a tap-in birdie to finish.

''I just hit it, let it ride up the crest and feed down,'' Poulter said. ''It turned out to be a decent shot. ... When you go out with a reasonable breeze and you produce a score like that, you have to be happy.''

Scott, who shot 67, stayed close until consecutive bogeys on 16 and 17. However, a 15-foot birdie putt on 18 pulled him back within one shot of Poulter and a final-round pairing with Poulter on Sunday.

''In the end, I really needed it,'' Scott said of his birdie on the last. ''With being just one shot behind, it can all change pretty quickly out there. He (Poulter) got off to such a great start, I was happy to be able to stay close.''

Australian Matthew Guyatt, leader by two strokes after each of the first two rounds, shot 75 Saturday and was six strokes behind in third.

Guyatt birdied the par-5 first and didn't get another until the 15th, but followed that up with a double-bogey on 16 and a bogey on the last.

Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion from Northern Ireland, shot 67 Saturday to move up the leaderboard after just scraping in on the 4-over cut line on Friday after a 77.

''They've put their trust in me to come down here this week,'' said McDowell, who was 12 strokes behind Poulter. ''I was panicking a little bit down the stretch yesterday. I felt so out of sorts within myself. I knew I had to try to make the weekend.

''I was early to bed last night because pride kicks in. I wanted to go out there this morning and do my job.''

Ian Poulter falls off the pace
November 16, 2012

Title-holder Ian Poulter's wish for more wind at the Australian Masters was delivered in spades on Friday, but the Englishman was furious with himself after a scratchy even-par 72 left him five strokes off the pace after the second round.

Joint-second overnight after perfect conditions during Thursday's opening round, Poulter watched his two-stroke deficit to unheralded leader Matthew Guyatt blow out to five as the Kingston Heath course bared its teeth on a gusty day.

"The course plays much different in the wind. It's a completely different course," a stone-faced Poulter told reporters greenside after cancelling out three birdies with three bogeys.

"I'm frustrated. I'm not going to stand here laughing, am I? I've shot level par and I'm disappointed. I'm not going to be standing here very jolly, am I?

"I've left shots out there on the golf course. I'm five off the lead but I'm pissed off with my round of golf. Simple."

World number 16 Poulter thrived in blustery conditions to win last year's tournament by three strokes at nearby Victoria Golf Club and had said he had hoped for more of the same weather at Kingston Heath on Melbourne's famed sandbelt.

With showers and more windy conditions forecast, Poulter was unfazed by the challenge to peg back the lead over the weekend, having made up huge ground to win his second World Golf Championship victory in Shenzhen, China, earlier this month.

"I was nine back going into HSBC Champions," said Poulter, referring to the final weekend in Shenzhen, where he shot a pair of 65s to win by two strokes.

"I'm going straight back to the hotel, I'm chilling out."

Ian Poulter off to solid defence of Australian Masters
November 15, 2012

Ryder Cup lightning rod Ian Poulter made a solid start to his Australian Masters title defense by firing a 67 to finish two strokes behind surprise leader Matthew Guyatt after Thursday's first round.

The dapper Englishman, mining a rich vein of form since leading Europe to victory over the United States in September, notched six birdies in perfect conditions at Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne to be among three tied for second at five-under, including local favorite Adam Scott.

"Five-under was a decent day but I feel like this golf course, if you play really well, can lend itself to making plenty of birdies, especially in these conditions," the 36-year-old Poulter told reporters.

"I think with my game, I'd prefer it to be a little windier than what it was today. I play pretty well in the wind and this is a tricky golf course."

Poulter stormed to victory by three strokes in last year's tournament at nearby Victoria Golf Club on Melbourne's famed sandbelt, blitzing local challengers who crumbled in gale-force winds in the final round.

The world number 16 is less likely to get his wish for Friday's second round, when teeing off in the relative calm of the morning.

While Poulter and Scott compete for top billing at the A$1 million tournament, journeyman Guyatt upstaged them both with a sparkling 65, featuring eight birdies and a single bogey.

"I've never been in this position before," said Queenslander Guyatt, who returned to play the fledgling OneAsia tour this year after a five-year hiatus working at a Brisbane golf club.

"It's what you do all your hard work and your practice for."

World number five Scott battled early frustrations on the greens before finding his putting groove to be well placed to bid for his first victory of the year.

"Realistically, I felt 9 or 10 (under) was possible for the way I played today if everything went my way," he said. "I'm not complaining, it's a good start."

Scott was joined in his group by Northern Irishman and former major winner Graeme McDowell, who carded a 71 to be six shots adrift of Guyatt.




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