Scott wins Australian Masters for first victory of 2012, outshining Poulter

Adam Scott at the Australian Masters
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Adam Scott and defending champion Ian Poulter exchanged the lead six times in a seven-hole stretch Sunday at the Australian Masters before Scott pulled away to claim his first victory of the year by four shots.
By
Associated Press

Series: Other Tour

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Adam Scott had five front-nine birdies Sunday and another one on the 18th hole for a 5-under-par 67 and a four-stroke win over Englishman Ian Poulter in the Australian Masters, his first victory of the year.

Scott trailed by one after three rounds and led by the same margin after the front nine Sunday. But his playing partner Poulter bogeyed two par 5s in three holes on the back nine to fall behind by three after 14 holes.

AUSTRALIAN MASTERS

Greg Norman won the Australian Masters six times between 1981 and 1990, and other winners include Ian Baker-Finch, Craig Parry, Richard Green, Peter Lonard and Aaron Baddeley.

Poulter, who shot 72 Sunday, then missed a one-foot par putt on 17 to all but hand the title to Scott, who finished with a 72-hole total of 17-under 271 at Kingston Heath.

"This has been a long time coming," Scott said. "This is pretty sweet to be in the gold jacket and hold this trophy that I've been admiring since I was a little kid.

"Winning the Australian Open was like getting the monkey off my back a couple of years ago, but this is certainly something I've wanted to achieve for a long time," he added. "Maybe I can set the theme of winning jackets and turn it green (the Masters) next year before I come back to defend."

The final-round pairing turned into match play -- the third-place finishers, New Zealanders Gareth Paddison (68) and Mark Brown (69), tied for third, eight strokes behind Scott.

Poulter said his bogey on the 12th was costly.

"It wasn't a mistake in club selection, it was a poor swing," Poulter said. "So, if you're going to make a poor swing in that situation, then you're going to get punished, and I did. I made a good 6 in the end, but a bogey there's costly and obviously a bogey on the next par 5 was also very costly."

"It was good to try and defend. I'm obviously just a little disappointed that I wasn't slipping another jacket on."

Scott tapped in for birdie on the par-5 first to quickly pull level, and the lead changed six times in seven holes.

After trailing by three strokes, Poulter made it interesting with an eight-foot birdie putt on 16 to pull within two, and the margin could have been closer. Scott was short of the green, but pitched to within four feet and made his par putt to make the swing just one shot.

Poulter gave away any chance of catching Scott when he lipped out on 17, increasing the margin back to three before Scott's birdie on 18.

Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, finished tied for eighth after a 71 Sunday, 15 strokes behind Scott.