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Coolum Classic
Craig Parry lets it slip yet again
Day 4: O'Hern wins first title
Day 3: Third day washed out by rain
Day 2: Davenport aces way to lead
Day 1: Three tied for lead after first round
1999-2000 Australasian PGA Tour Schedule

Parry lets it slip yet again

Normally you'd put your house on Craig Parry once he muscles his way to the lead on the last nine of a golf tournament.

But for the second week in a row the feisty Parry blew a tournament when he appeared to have it by the scruff of the neck.

He edged ahead of the pack at 9-under with a birdie-three at the 13th at Coolum yesterday only to immediately open the door with a three-putt bogey from the edge of the green on the par-three 14th.

Perhaps it was fate or perhaps one of his playing partners, eventual winner Nick O'Hern, sensed a chink in the hitherto invincible Parry armour.

Whatever, O'Hern responded with a birdie at the long par-five 15th to wrest the lead from him. Two holes later, Parry fell on his own sword as he had done at the second-last hole in the PGA Championship just seven days beforehand.

This time he found a greenside bunker with his second shot to the 367-metre par four 17th at the Hyatt Regency course. He blasted out to about four metres and two-putted for bogey. And, as far as the man they call Popeye was concerned, it was the end of the penny section given that O'Hern made birdie at the same hole to move to 10-under.

While Parry said he felt like "necking" himself after dropping three shots over the closing holes at the PGA Championship, he was more philosophical yesterday.

"It wasn't any one hole or anything that cost me," he said stoically.

"I seemed to be between clubs all day today. I never had my yardages right at any stage of the round. It's not the end of the world. I'll go home for Christmas now and have a good time with the kids."

Last week he brushed the cobwebs from his mind by spending 90 minutes alone in the tranquil early morning on his 39-foot boat on the Parramatta River.

Yesterday you gained the distinct impression Parry was not hurting as much as the previous week when he felt he handed one of the country's time-honoured titles to New Zealander, Greg Turner. But it would not surprise to learn of another soul-searching session on the boat this morning.

Parry had been out to atone for last week's bungle and said as much after he shared the lead at the halfway mark with O'Hern and Kiwi Paul Devenport.

"The worst thing that can happen this week is that I don't finish this off," he said. "I can't ever recall being in that position and allowing a tournament to slip. I played poorly. Part of it was poor course management – I want to atone for that."

However, outwardly at least, yesterday's slide from grace did not appear to be gnawing at him as much, although he did pack up quickly and head back to Sydney with his wife Jenni and three young children not all that long after the tournament had ended. Nobody can blame him for that, though, given that it was all over by lunchtime courtesy of a 6am start to the third (and final) round. Saturday's scheduled third day's play was abandoned. The course was unplayable because of rain.

Last week at Victoria, Parry pull-hooked his tee shot at 15 finishing in deep rough as he had done at Carnoustie on the 12th hole during the final round of this year's Open Championship. (It's history that he took double bogey in Scotland in July and then missed the three-way play-off by a stroke after holing his wedge from beside the green at the last.)

Then at the 17th in the PGA final round he took double bogey after his ball failed to clear the lip of a fairway bunker and travelled only a couple of metres sideways.