Robert Allenby is the 2009 Australian PGA Champion, running out a convincing winner after a rock solid final round of 66 gave none of those lining up to challenge in the final round at the Hyatt Regency Coolum a chance.
Allenby missed only one green in an impressive display, doing what he had to in order to hold those lined up behind at bay, eventually wining by four over Scott Strange and John Senden with Marc Leishman alone in 4th position one shot further back.
For the Victorian it was his 4th PGA Championship in the last ten years, the first two coming at the Royal Queensland in 2000 and 2001, the third in 2005 and now this year's clinical victory. He joins an elite group of Australian golfers with four or more PGA Championships to their name. That list includes the likes of Kel Nagle, Norman Von Nida and Bill Dunk.
Leading by one heading into the final day, Allenby missed out on a birdie at the par five opening hole but was quickly into stride with a birdie at the second. He again missed out on a birdie at the reachable par five 5th, the easiest hole of the day, but once again he made up for that lapse with a birdie at the short par three 6th. Despite missing his only green of the day at the 9th he was able to save par and made the turn one ahead of West Australian Scott Strange who appeared as if he may be Allenby's strongest challenger.
Allenby however would two putt the 12th for birdie to go to 12 under and then added further birdies at the 15th and 17th to shut the door.
"Obviously I had some very tough competitors behind me starting the day," said Allenby. "I tried to just pace myself and hit as many fairways and as many greens as I could and if you do that and make the occasional putt then you are going to slip ahead of them. There were still a few contenders there towards the end, the birdie at 15 was nice and then to birdie the 17th gave me a four shot lead."
"I'm normally fairly consistent in the fairways and greens I hit but to do it on the final day under the gun is very special. I have been working very hard on my game and my swing back in Florida and obviously it is that good now that I am starting to win tournaments. The putting feels fantastic and I was very calm and relaxed out there."
John Senden emerged as a threat to Strange's hold on second place when he made the turn in 32 and then added another birdie at the 12th to move to 10 under. He was unable to make any further progress but it was a good bounce-back for the Queenslander after missing the cut in last week's Australian Open. Senden shared second with Strange.
Strange continued the considerable progress he has made in world golf over the last two years, adding this to his two European Tour victories in the last eighteen months. Ranked only 123rd in the world at present this will help as he looks to make progress in the world ranking. "I can't say at this stage what 2010 holds for me as we have a baby due in January," said Strange. "I'm not sure when I will be playing after that but I think the top 50 in the world is my next step."
"Rob played just great, added Strange. "I just had to keep playing golf, I knew I had to step up to the plate and I did that but just didn't get the ball to drop in as few shots as him. We both played similar really he holes the putts and I didn't hole anything."
Like Allenby, Strange has faced family adversity losing his sister Natalie to breast cancer last year. Allenby's mother Sylvia has passed way earlier this year from abdominal cancer.
"We played a practice round together in Abu Dhabi this year and Robert said how much he was wanting to win for his mother then and I told him it would happen but he just had to let it happen. It has taken all year but now he has two."
Marc Leishman produced a strong last round to finish alone in 4th position bringing to an end a season which should see him named as the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and further confirming his immense promise
Nick O'Hern and Michael Sim finished in share of 5th. Sim secured the Norman Von Nida Medal as the winner of the 2009 Australasian Tour Order of Merit, heading Moonah Classic winner, Alastair Presnell, by a massive $92,000.
The honours however are with the winner however, establishing an important place in Australian golf's history with his 4th PGA Championship to go with his two Australian Opens.
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About The Author : Bruce Young
A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.
In the pecking order of the game’s professional tournaments, Australia’s state Open titles are a fair way down the list but this week’s men's WA Open, with a prominent woman in the field, is a tournament well worth keeping an eye on.