AMERICAN Harold Varner has exacted revenge for his near miss on the Gold Coast last year by taking out the Australian PGA Championship at the Royal Pines Resort.
Varner, who was part of a three way playoff won by Nathan Holman in 2015, posted a final round 65 to finish 19-under and two ahead of overnight leader Andrew Dodt.
The win is the 26-year-old’s first as a professional and comes on the back of an excellent rookie season on the PGA Tour.
Varner reeled off nine birdies in his final round and despite a bogey at the par-3 14th to fall back into a share of the lead with Dodt he finished strong for the win.
A birdie at the par-5 15th to Dodt’s par gave him back the outright lead and he shut the door with his final birdie of the day at the 17th.
THE WEEK IN GOLF CHATS TO HAROLD VARNER:
Varner was part of a three-way playoff at last year’s tournament when he finished tied with South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli and Victoria’s Nathan Holman at even par.
Holman went on to win in extra time but Varner returned in 2016 to take care of unfinished business.
A popular figure with Australian fans, Varner was two shots behind Dodt to start the final round but began his charge with a birdie at three then rolled in four in a row from the seventh.
“Right now just super excited,” Varner said in his post round press conference.
“After last year it feels good to come back and finish it off. It’s my first win since the mini tours and my first win as part of a Tour organisation like the European Tour.
“No-one told me about the other stuff stuff that goes along with winning…I didnlt know there’s so much stuff!”
Dodt made a fight of it till late in the back nine but Varner’s final day birdie barrage proved too much in the end.
“7-under final round in those conditions…it’s hats off to him,” Dodt said of the American’s performance.
“That’s as good as it gets.”
Dodt was philosophical about hisn own play saying he would have taken his final round 69 if offered at the start of the day.
“I’m pretty proud of myself,” he said. “A 3-under Sunday, bogey free… I would have taken that at the start.
“I probably didn’t hit the key shots at the right moments on the front nine when I needed to.
“I held in there at the end but Harold was too good.”
Adam Scott finished outright third at 15-under while Victorian Ash Hall, who was part of a three way playoff at the Australian Open a fortnight ago, was fourth on his own at 14-under after a final round 70.
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