Australian Open win a boost for career: Spieth

US golfer Jordan Spieth holding the Stonehaven Cup trophy after winning the Australian Open Golf Championship at the Royal Sydney Golf Club in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, on Nov 20, 2016.
US golfer Jordan Spieth holding the Stonehaven Cup trophy after winning the Australian Open Golf Championship at the Royal Sydney Golf Club in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, on Nov 20, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

SYDNEY • Jordan Spieth has always said his first Australian Open triumph in 2014 taught him how to close out a tournament and he expects to reap an equally important dividend from yesterday's second victory.

The American's win at The Australian Golf Club two years ago on the back of a final-round 63 was the springboard to a stellar 2015 in which he won five tournaments, including his first two Majors.

At Royal Sydney yesterday, he prevailed after a gutsy three-under 69 for a 276 total and a three-way play-off with Australians Ashley Hall and Cameron Smith which he won with a 12-foot birdie putt.

Smith, who shot a final-round 66, missed a 40-foot birdie putt in the play-off. Hall, the world No. 902, made eight birdies to also card a 66, but could only make par at the play-off hole.

Spieth was particularly pleased that he managed to get his swing right under pressure, especially after leading by five shots going into the back nine on the last day of this year's US Masters before blowing up and relinquishing his title.

"You can't practise for being very nervous," he said.

"You can't get on the range and say, 'Okay, get nervous.' It doesn't work that way. It just comes through experience.

"It's easier when you're five or six up coming into the last few holes. You can trust anything, there's no nerves, you've already closed it out."

After his brilliant 2015, two wins on the US PGA Tour this year was considered a modest dividend for the former world No. 1.

While he was certainly not going to start predicting major successes for next season, he did feel he would be able to draw on yesterday's victory.

"I think a lot can be drawn back on 2014 into 2015. The way we played the play-off, I think it's going to do wonders for me," he said.

Australia's Jason Scrivener (69) finished at 278 in a tie for fourth with compatriots Rod Pampling (70), Aaron Baddeley (71), Geoff Ogilvy (72) and New Zealander Ryan Fox (71).

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2016, with the headline 'Australian Open win a boost for career: Spieth'. Print Edition | Subscribe