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Rose blooms again in Australia

Justin Rose admitted he had to ride "a rollercoaster" to secure his first European Tour victory in four years at the MasterCard Australian Masters at Huntingdale.

Rose carded a final round one-over 73 to be 12-under-par overall but he had to hold off a challenge from a throng of Australians, including amateur Aaron Pike.

The Englishman also made a disastrous triple-bogey at the par-five seventh which threatened to derail his hopes, but the world number 69 showed true grit to bounce back and don the gold jacket the winner of the event receives.

"It was a rollercoaster. I was really pleased though that my emotions didn't rollercoaster," said Rose, who now jumps to fifth on the European Tour order of merit.

"I stayed very clam, even when I made triple on the seventh I said 'well you are tied for the lead, game on' and it was awesome to bounce back with a birdie on the eighth.

"It was a really tough golf course today."

Pike provided the day's highlight by holing a bunker shot for eagle on the 14th - which Rose eagled in the third round - the stroke jumping the 21-year-old into a share of the lead at the time at 11-under.

But Rose, playing in the final group and following Pike, responded with a birdie at the 555-metre hole, and after giving a shot back at the 15th, another birdie at 16 set up the win.

Richard Green, the 2004 champion, carded a final-round 69 to finish at 10-under, equal-second with Greg Chalmers who sunk a long birdie-putt on the last for a round of 73.

Chalmers had earlier shared the lead when he was 11-under after eight holes, but a shocking five-putt on the ninth ended his winning hopes.

Green was hopeful he could win the tournament when he posted an early leading score in the clubhouse on day where the course - which had been dominated for most of the week - bit back.

"The course played very difficult," Green said. "The pin placements were very tough and the firmness of the greens was very difficult as well.

"(When I was waiting in the clubhouse) I knew that 16 was playing very difficult and 17 and 18 anything can happen. All credit to Justin for hanging on."

Rose agreed with Green's sentiments regarding the closing holes, and was thrilled to have finished so strongly.

"When Richard Green had posted 10-under, the last three holes had been bad to me all week," Rose said.

"I bogeyed all three of them on Thursday, one of them on Friday, one on Saturday and I felt like I wanted a lead coming into those holes, so to play the last three in one-under was the reason I won the tournament."

Pike made an untimely three-putt bogey on and then suffered the embarrassment of sending his 50-foot birdie putt on the 18th into a greenside bunker, the resultant bogey dropping him into outright fourth at nine-under.

Aaron Baddeley staked his claims for a first MasterCard Masters win by making birdies at 10, 12 and 14 to get it to nine-under, but after lipping out his putt for birdie on the 17th, the two-time Australian Open champion dropped a shot at the last to finish fifth.

Big-hitting New South Welshman Kurt Barnes ended with a 70 to claim sixth place, while Tasmanian Mathew Goggin signed for the low round of the day (67) to wind up in a tie for eighth with Englishman Simon Khan (73), Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin (76) and Victorian Jarrod Lyle.

Australian Matthew Millar's closing 70 moved resulted in him sharing 11th-place with 1997 and 2002 champion Peter Lonard (75) and left-hander Adam Bland (74).

Australian Open champion John Senden - who started his bid for consecutive tournament victories in fine style with opening rounds of 68 and 69 - closed with a 73 to finish at four-under alongside Nick O'Hern (74) and Peter O'Malley (74).

World number 15 and tournament drawcard Paul Casey double-bogeyed the first on his way to a final-round 77 - 10 strokes worse than his third-round score - while Robert Allenby had a disappointing end to his title defence by making a double-bogey on the 18th in a round of 76 - even-par for the championship.

Pre-tournament favourite Stuart Appleby also carded a 76 on Sunday to finish plus four overall.

Earlier, Rose birdied the sixth - to make him 12-under on par-fives for the week at that point - to set up a three-stroke advantage over Chalmers, but after finding the bunker from the tee on seven, he then caught the lip and his ball speared into the bushes.

A subsequent unplayable lie, chip-out and three-putt on the green, left the Englishman reeling before Chalmers' horrible error at nine. However, Rose recovered immediately by picking up a shot at the eighth before his steely back-nine efforts.

Collated final round scores in the European Tour MasterCard Masters, Huntingdale GC, Melbourne, Australia

(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):

276 Justin Rose 69 66 68 73

278 Richard Green (Aus) 70 71 68 69, Greg Chalmers (Aus) 70 67 68 73

279 Aaron Pike (Aus) 64 69 72 74

280 Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 68 71 70 71

281 Kurt Barnes (Aus) 70 66 75 70

282 Mathew Goggin (Aus) 74 70 71 67, Jarrod Lyle (Aus) 72 69 69 72, Simon Khan 71 66 72 73

283 Matthew Millar (Aus) 76 69 68 70, Adam Bland (Aus) 72 70 67 74, Peter Lonard (Aus) 68 71 69 75, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 66 72 67 78

284 John Senden (Aus) 69 68 74 73, Nick O'Hern (Aus) 73 68 69 74, Peter O'Malley (Aus) 74 68 68 74

285 Jarrod Moseley (Aus) 73 70 71 71, Nathan Green (Aus) 73 67 71 74, Craig Parry (Aus) 68 72 69 76, Paul Casey 71 70 67 77

286 Daniel Chopra (Swe) 75 69 72 70, Andrew Tschudin (Aus) 71 73 70 72, Peter Wilson (Aus) 65 74 72 75, Peter Senior (Aus) 72 70 67 77

287 Rafael Bello (Spa) 74 71 70 72, Brendan Chant (Aus) 75 68 71 73, Brad Kennedy (Aus) 74 70 70 73, Damien McGrane 76 67 69 75, Jarmo Sandelin (Swe) 71 73 68 75, Andrew Butterfield 70 70 70 77, Gary Simpson (Aus) 75 65 71 76

288 Jason Norris (Aus) 74 71 73 70, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 74 71 70 73, Gavin Coles (Aus) 71 73 70 74, Steven Bowditch (Aus) 68 69 75 76, Robert Allenby (Aus) 69 71 72 76, Tony Carolan (Aus) 68 69 72 79, Marcus Fraser (Aus) 74 69 66 79

289 James Nitties (Aus) 71 68 76 74, Nick Dougherty 65 77 73 74, Aron Price (Aus) 71 71 70 77, Graeme Storm 71 73 68 77

290 Terry Pilkadaris (Aus) 72 72 75 71, Steve Alker (Nzl) 73 72 73 72, Peter Fowler (Aus) 71 70 74 75, Aaron Black (Aus) 70 74 71 75, Steve Collins (Aus) 75 70 70 75, Pete Nolan (Aus) 71 71 72 76, Lee S James 74 69 71 76, Simon Dyson 77 68 69 76

291 Stephen Dartnell (Aus) 70 72 74 75

292 James Heath 75 70 73 74, Luke Hickmott (Aus) 72 72 73 75, Stuart Appleby (Aus) 75 67 74 76, Brett Rumford (Aus) 75 70 68 79, Carl Suneson (Spa) 68 71 69 84

293 Gary Murphy 74 70 71 78

294 Marcus Cain (Aus) 72 73 76 73, Danny Vera (Aus) 72 72 77 73

295 Andrew Tampion (Aus) 75 69 75 76, Mahal Pearce (Nzl) 71 74 74 76, Adam Porker (Aus) 76 69 72 78

296 Dean Kinney (Aus) 74 70 76 76

297 Henry Epstein (Aus) 72 70 78 77, Michael Wright (Aus) 74 71 75 77

298 Adam Crawford (Aus) 71 73 73 81

304 Denny Lucas 71 73 75 85

November 26, 2006

 




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