Golf: Australia's Scott seals second victory in two weeks

Adam Scott reacting after putting in to win on the 18th hole during the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Adam Scott reacting after putting in to win on the 18th hole during the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Australian battles to win WGC-Cadillac title, while a frustrated McIlroy finishes joint third

MIAMI • It must be hoped that Rory McIlroy's losing of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Sunday does not overshadow the wonderfully dramatic fashion in which Adam Scott won it, recording a second victory in two weeks.

Any more of this and golf will be in danger of gleaming plaudits for entertainment.

On a captivating afternoon on the outskirts of Miami, Scott recorded two double-bogeys, shanked a bunker shot, flirted with a water hazard on the 72nd hole but finally, crucially, converted from almost seven feet to claim the trophy.

Relief - and an element of shock - matched the Australian's delight after a classy back nine contributed to a 69 and a total of 12-under 276.

McIlroy had started the day on that mark.

With this, added to his Honda Classic success, Scott has comprehensively dismissed fears over his enforced change from a long-handled putter. He holed out 18 times from 18 attempts within 10 feet on day four.

Yesterday, he rose to No. 6 in the world rankings, which at least almost reflects what his status in this sport should naturally be.

Marriage and fatherhood may have shifted his priorities for a while but he remains an immense talent - as now replicated by 13 PGA Tour wins at the age of 35.

"I can't really believe it. I haven't processed what happened there," said Scott.

"It was ugly and good, all in 18 holes.

"I think you have this picture in your mind that you've got to play so beautifully to win all the time and sometimes, especially at a golf course like this, in windy conditions like this, it can't be that pretty unless you play one of the rounds of your life."

Something akin to an encyclopaedia may be required to tell the full tale of how this all unfolded from the position where McIlroy seemed to hold an unassailable advantage.

In seriously testing conditions on the Blue Monster course at the Trump National Doral Resort, the Northern Irishman could score no better than 74 for a 278 total and joint third place.

"I didn't take advantage of the holes I should have," he said. "It's frustrating because that's two out of the last three weeks.

"I was leading with 16 holes to play at Riviera. I was leading here going into the back nine and to not get the job done in either of those instances is very frustrating.

"So I've got two events left to try to get that win before going to Augusta (for the Masters) and I'm hopefully going to get it."

McIlroy's wobble was unforeseen but the level of bruising it inflicted on him was apparent.

He had played 40 tournament holes without a bogey before missing a lengthy par putt at the 7th. Another trip arrived at the 9th, where he could not get up and down from a greenside bunker. Suddenly there was a four-way tie for the lead.

McIlroy was never to rediscover his mojo, with his first birdie of the final round not arriving until the 16th.

And yet, in endorsing the madcap nature of this event, repeats on the closing two holes would have forced a play-off.

McIlroy's effort on the 17th slipped agonisingly past, at which point his race was run - barring a Scott aberration.

Others had played their part. Bubba Watson, who finished second with a 277 total, led by one after a birdie at the 12th.

Phil Mickelson (279), who finished fifth, and Danny Willett (278) had spells in a tie for the lead.

But this was Scott's day.

He might have illustrated just how difficult winning can be, but it was winning all the same.

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2016, with the headline 'Scott claims second trophy in two weeks'. Print Edition | Subscribe