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Adam Scott claims second home title

(Photo: Bruce Young)
From the time the field for the 2012 Talisker Masters was finalised there was an anticipation that the event's two leading world ranked players would find themselves in the final pairing on Sunday and test themselves not only against each other but against one of golf's finest layouts.

That anticipation turned to reality as the event entered its final day with Ian Poulter taking a one shot lead over the higher ranked Adam Scott into what was an eagerly awaited clash at Kingston Heath.

Such was the gap between that pairing and the rest of the field that there appeared very little chance of anyone other than Poulter or Scott with their hand on the trophy at day's end and that was the way it would work out.

Scott claimed his second title in Australia with a four shot win over Poulter to claim his first title of 2012 but not before a gripping battle especially throughout the early and middle stages of day four.

"Satisfaction is the perfect word to describe this week," said the winner after his round. It is probably the only tournament of the year maybe one other where I have put four solid rounds together.

"It was great to be part of it. The golf Ian and I played over the past two days was the highest standard of golf there is. I can't tell you how good it was.

"My swing was good all week but today it was very good. I just tried to play instinctive golf. I took my chances on the front 9 and then just tried to hang on on the back nine."

A rain shower before play began served only to take a little of the sting from the course but when that had passed the weather turned cold before the sun eventually broke through for the afternoon round.

Scott got the dream start when he recorded the almost obligatory birdie at the first and then holed a 40 footer for another birdie at the second. The Australian was ahead but not for long as Poulter would birdie the 3rd and when Scott bogeyed the 4th Poulter was back where he started the day - one in front.

By the time they made the turn Scott had moved ahead courtesy of birdies at the 6th, 7th and 8th holes although Poulter matched Scott's birdie at the 8th to keep the margin to just one.

The first significant gap between the two first appeared at the 12th when Poulter was forced to hole a 25 footer just for bogey and the gap was two.

Ahead on the golf course New Zealanders Mark Brown and Gareth Paddison were moving into a top five finish. Brown, a former Johnnie Walker Classic Champion, has begun to play well again after some time in the doldrums.

Brown moved into outright third when he birdied two of the first three holes and despite losing his way around the turn he birdied the 14th, 15th and 16th to move ahead of the left handed Paddison who had also made a big move on the final day.

Paddison reached the turn in even par 36 but birdies at the 12th, 14th and 15th holes have him in third position alone before Brown came back at him. Paddison would go on to birdie the 17th to again share third and when both parred the last they perhaps fittingly tied for that spot, albeit four shots adrift of the seocnd placed Poulter.

That pair, playing a group apart, fought a roller coaster battle over the closing stages before they could not be separated and shared third position.

Two holes behind the battle continued between Scott and Poulter but when Poulter again bogeyed a par five at the 14th the gap was three. Both made par at the dangerous 15th and so with three holes to play Scott had a three shot advantage.

The gap looked all but unassailable until Poulter hit a magnificent approach at the 16th to five feet and the resulting birdie had closed the gap from a comfortable three shots for Scott to just two. That put a different perspective on things and Scott needed to dig deep to hold out the stubborn and determined Poulter.

Scott was up to the challenge when he hit his approach hole high and twenty feet left of the flag at the 17th. When Poulter then proceeded to miss a putt of less than two feet for par Scott very tentatively two putted and the margin was three.

Scott put the icing on the cake with a faultless birdie at the last to win by four. It was a clinical display throughout the week.

It was fitting that that the most credentialed player in the field should win over such a great golf course. Tournament organisers got the dream result they were hoping for and while a closer margin over the final few holes might have made a great week even better, that Australia's finest player of the last ten years has now claimed two of the Australian triple crown of titles has made this victory a popular result.

The runner-up was disapointed but complimentary of the performance by Scott. "It has been a great week, said the Englishman. "I am disappointed because I led into the final round and haven't won but it has been a great week.

"Adam played very solid and forced me into a couple of mistakes. I made a fateful error on the 17th (he mised form two feet) when i was standing over Adam's line but he played a lovely round of five under"

When questioned as to whether or not there was a question mark over Scott's capacity under pressure Poulter quickly put the heat of the journalist who had fielded the proposition.

"Adam's number five in the world ranking and won 18 or more tournaments around the world - I don't think there is any question on that. He's won the tournament today. Give the guy a bit of respect."

Queenslander Adam Crawford produced the best round of the day by two shots (65) to move from his overnight 25th position to claim 5th position on his own while his fellow Queenslander Peter Senior and New Zealander Mike Hendry were tied for 6th.

The leading amateur honours went to Jake Higginbottom who finished two shots ahead of 18 year old West Australian Oliver Goss.

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