Sunday, 27 November 2011

Chalmers Continues Winning Streak

Greg Chalmers claimed his second major tournament Down Under in two weeks by winning the Australian PGA Championship on Sunday, making par in a three-man playoff while his rivals found trouble off the tee.

The left-handed Chalmers, who closed with a 5-under 67, added the PGA to the Australian Open title he won at The Lakes in Sydney two weeks previously. He will have a chance to complete the so-called Australian Triple Crown when he competes in the Australian Masters in Melbourne beginning Dec. 15.

Marcus Fraser got into the playoff with a 50-foot birdie putt on the 18th in regulation to complete a final round 69, while Robert Allenby had a 68 as the playoff trio finished with 12-under-par totals of 276 on the Hyatt Regency resort course.

Fraser strayed into a pond then a bunker in the playoff while Allenby drove into the rough and after recovering well, missed a par putt of 10 feet.

"I was surprised to see that a par was good enough, but that's how it goes sometime in a playoff," Chalmers said. "And I really thought I'd have to shoot maybe 8-under to be among the leaders at the end."

Allenby's record in playoffs is a great one, with 10 wins from 12 playoffs. This time, though, he said he was distracted on his par putt.

"I know what playoffs are like, I know how to win them," Allenby said. "But I got put off by a camera guy at the back of the green that moved. I had to back off and tell him to stand still and then I just kind of lost a little bit of focus ... lost my line that I had chosen the first time. I just couldn't find that spot again and I hit a bad putt."

Fraser said his huge putt to make the playoff "had beautiful speed, I saw a pretty good line. I thought it sat there for about three hours. In this game, you never know, you never give up."

Adam Scott shot 68 and Aaron Baddeley, who led before two late bogeys, had a 72 to finish at 10-under, two shots out of the playoff and tied for fourth.

Scott said he "wasted a few this week" but felt "the second half of this year I have been right in the mix, it's something to work on for next year. I feel like I'm knocking on the door."

Third-round leader K.T. Kim and American Bubba Watson, who trailed by a stroke after 54 holes, were a combined 9-over in the final group.

Kim finished with a 76 and was tied for sixth, three strokes behind. Watson dropped four shots in his opening four holes and had two double bogeys, five bogeys, an eagle and two birdies in his 77 to finish tied for 12th, six strokes behind the winner.

American Rickie Fowler, making his professional debut in Australia after winning the world amateur title in 2008 in Adelaide, closed with a 70 and was at 6-under 282, six behind.

Greg Norman had a final-round 74 after a double-bogey 6 on the 18th when his approach went into the pond guarding the entire left side of the hole, finishing eight behind.

Geoff Ogilvy shot a final-round 80, including a 9 on the par-3 11th when he put three balls into the water.

British Open champion Darren Clarke shot 70 Sunday after teeing off at 6:35 a.m. local time in the second group of the day. The early start came after he shot a self-described "brutal" 79 on Saturday, leaving him near the bottom of the 66-man field which made the cut.

Coolum was the first of four consecutive weeks for Clarke, and he's travelling with the Claret Jug that he won at this year's Open championship at Royal St. George's in July. Clarke plays next week at the Nedback Challenge at Sun City, South Africa, followed by the European Tour's season-ending Race to Dubai, and then an Asian Tour stop in Thailand the week before Christmas.