Having finished in the top ten nine times in eighteen previous starts this year, Australia’s Adam Scott finally broke is 2006 USPGA Tour duck at the last available opportunity after clinching the end of season finale at East Lake in Georgia. Scott fired a final round of 66 at the Tour Championship to come home by three strokes from American Jim Furyk and register the fifth USPGA title of his career.
The victory over a high class field in the last event of the season was clearly a relief for the 26 year-old (pictured), who admitted that he had been pleased with his form throughout the year but ultimately disappointed not to have won more often.
“It’s been a long time coming for me and it’s been a while since I won a four round strokeplay event,” he said after lifting the trophy.
“I played really well this week. I had a couple of hiccups coming home but managed to make a few putts today and I’m really proud of what I achieved. I didn’t want to throw away this opportunity as I had done with some others earlier in the season. It’s been a long time since I won in the United States and I want to start getting into the habit of winning a bit more frequently.”
Scott began the day three strokes clear of American Joe Durant and got his final round off to a flying start with a birdie at the third. He picked up more shots at the seventh, ninth and tenth, before spectacularly holing a bunker shot at the thirteenth to all but clinch the win.
He suffered a minor wobble on sixteen and seventeen but came away only one shot worse off, making par on the eighteenth to secure the three shot win over Furyk, who played beautifully on his way to a final round of 65 and a total of eight-under-par. Durant was a stroke further back on -7, while 2004 champion Retief Goosen was fourth on -6. The tournament saw the top 30 players on the US Tour – with the exception of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and the injured Stephen Ames – competing for one last batch of ranking points and a bumper winners cheque.
Despite his absence this week, world number one Woods finished the season as the US Tour’s leading money winner after collecting almost $10 million in prize money. Furyk’s second place finish at East Lake consolidated his position in the runner’s up spot. The second half of the season will undoubtedly be remembered for Woods’ blistering form that led him to six consecutive strokeplay victories, while the first half will be remembered for the breakthrough of several younger players such as JJ Henry, Vaughn Taylor and Scott’s compatriot, Geoff Ogilvy, who won the US Open in June.
It has been a strange kind of year for Mickelson, who slipped to number three in the world rankings during the autumn despite a fantastic start to the season at Augusta. His failure to hang on for victory at the US Open turned his season, and he slipped away quietly after a lacklustre Ryder Cup performance. Most of the players will not have to wait long to begin their next assault on the world rankings – many of them, including Woods, will be lining up in China later this week for the HSBC Champions Trophy.