Sunday, December 1

Rory McIlroy Edges Adam Scott at Royal Sydney

By Brian Keogh

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy might have remained sixth in the world but his dramatic final hole victory in the Emirates Australian Open in what was his last full start of a fraught season may well go down as one of the most significant of his career. Four shots behind Masters champion Adam Scott (71) starting the day, he hunted down the Masters champion relentlessly, pulling level after just eight holes before eventually snatching the title with a 15 foot birdie putt at the last after the Australian had overshot the green, chipped 60 feet past and made bogey.

The 24-year-old clenched both fists and gazed skyward as the winning putt dropped apologetically into the holesomething Scott had failed to do all day as he missed six putts inside 12 feet, including several short onesfor his first victory in more than a year.

"I am really pleased I was able to take on one of the best players in the world down the stretch and come out on top," said McIlroy, whose gutsy, 12-foot par saver at the par-three 17th would prove crucial. "He's a phenomenal golfer, a great competitor and probably an even better guy. I feel a bit sorry that I’m the one to ruin the Triple Crown for him, but I'm happy for myself."

It was no wonder, considering all that has gone on for him off the course this year.

"I definitely felt better with how my swing was. I just felt like everything was coming together the way I wanted it to. It's been a frustrating year but I've worked hard and it's been a process, trying to get back to winning golf tournaments again. It was nice to be able to do it today."

His six under closing round, highlighted by four birdies and a crucial eagle three at the seventh, gave him his 10th worldwide win as a professional.

And while his two major victories hold pride of place ahead of his maiden wins in Europe and the US, this was affirmation for the Co Down man that his 2013 troubles were merely transitory and that he can go on to challenge the likes of Scott and world No 1 Tiger Woods for dominance in the game next season.

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

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