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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > PGA Tour > Tour Championship > Round 4
 

TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP RELATED STORIES





Adam Scott gains three shot victory

With a trophy in hand, Adam Scott can now call this his best year.

His most consistent season was missing only a PGA Tour victory, and Scott took care of that Sunday in the final event, closing with a 4-under 66 to capture the Tour Championship by three shots over Jim Furyk.

Scott turned the season finale into a snoozer, playing mistake-free golf at East Lake until it no longer mattered. Hundreds of fans headed for the parking lot when the 26-year-old Australian made the turn with a three-stroke lead, and he never let anyone get any closer.

It was the perfect way to end the PGA Tour season for Scott.

His goal was to be in contention more often, and he accomplished that with nine top 10s, six of those finishes no worse than third. Coming off a missed cut last week at Innisbrook, he fixed his flaws earlier this week and ran away from the 27-man field at East Lake.

It was his fourth career PGA Tour victory, and it earned him the last spot at Kapalua for the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship that starts the 2007 season in 61 days.

"It's been a long time since I've been here, winning on the PGA Tour," Scott said. "I had to work hard for it."

Scott finished at 11-under 269 and earned $1.17 million to finish a career-high third on the PGA Tour money list with nearly $5 million. With tournaments coming up in Australia, he will have a chance to surpass Phil Mickelson at No. 3 in the world ranking by the end of the year.

Furyk shot a 65 to match the low round of the week, but never got closer than two strokes and trailed by as many as five on the back nine. But he finished out his year with bogey-free golf over his final 31 holes, and his strong play was rewarded with a consolation prize when he captured the Vardon Trophy for the first time with the lowest adjusted scoring average on tour.

Furyk's average was 68.86, while Scott was second at 68.95.

Tiger Woods had the lowest average (68.11), but failed to play the required 60 rounds. Woods skipped the Tour Championship for the first time, although he still would have come up one round short.

"I'm wondering if anyone is going to put an asterisk on it because Tiger didn't play enough rounds," Furyk said. "But it's a nice honor. It's icing on the cake for a good year and a consistent year."

Joe Durant closed with a 67 to finish third at 273 and end his season with a stunning turnaround. He was worried about keeping his card three months ago, then finished the year with five straight top-10 finishes, including a victory at Disney. He wound up 13th on the money list, making him eligible for all four majors next year.

Those consolation prizes were the best anyone could hope for.

"We just couldn't get anywhere near him, really," Durant said.

As if Scott's superb play wasn't enough, he had fortune on his side. From a bunker short of the 13th green, on one of the toughest holes at East Lake, Scott holed out for a birdie that stretched his lead to five shots.

Even with a thin gallery, the cheer sent a message down the 14th fairway to Durant and Furyk, who were playing in the group ahead of Scott.

"I looked at Jim and we both kind of laughed," Durant said. "We didn't have to say it, but we both knew it. That was game, set and match as far as the winner."

Scott never felt that way.

Even with a three-shot lead at the start of the final round, Scott didn't expect smooth sailing with five players from the top 10 in the world lined up behind him. Sure enough, there were a few moments early in the final round where it could have gone either way.

Vijay Singh opened with a 12-foot birdie and made a 15-foot par save on the next hole, seemingly a sign that his putter was going to behave for him. On the downwind third hole, Singh hit a sand wedge to within 5 feet and was poised to get within one shot, especially with Scott facing a 15-footer straight down the slope.

Scott holed the birdie putt, Singh missed and the lead was back to three.

Then on the par-4 fifth, both faced 6-foot par saves. Scott made, Singh lipped out and Scott was on his way. His next threat came from Furyk and Durant in the group ahead of him, but when Scott holed a 15-foot birdie on the par-5 ninth, followed by a 10-footer on the 10th, he started to pull away.

Singh ended up with a 72 that left him nine strokes back.

Scott now has five trophies on the PGA Tour, even though only four count in the record books. His playoff victory in the Nissan Open last year was unofficial because rain shortened the tournament to 36 holes. Scott got the first-place check, but not the ticket to Kapalua.

Now, he can start his season in style.

The next step for Scott is contending in a major. For now, he will have to settle for winning two of the PGA Tour's elite events -- The Players Championship two years ago, and the Tour Championship.

 

 




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