A course record round of 65 on the final day enabled Australia?s John Senden, a winner on the USPGA Tour earlier this year, to defeat the cream of Australian golf and capture his first MFS Australian Open title at the famous Royal Sydney Golf Club on Sunday.
Senden?s compatriot Nathan Green had led the tournament after all of the first three rounds but neither he nor US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, multiple Australian Open winner Stuart Appleby or world number four Adam Scott had any answer to Senden?s storming finish on the final day.
He posted four birdies on each nine and just one bogey, leaving him on eight under par for the 72 holes – a shot clear of Ogilvy, two ahead of Appleby and Gavin Coles and three clear of Scott and Green. Scott, who won the season-ending USPGA Tour Championship in fine style, was looking for his first win in his home nation?s flagship event but was left frustrated once again.
The 35-year-old Senden, who won the John Deere Classic in the USA in July, enjoyed his first win on the Australasian Tour and was happy to have beaten such a strong field at one of Australia?s most famous venues. Birdies on his final two holes ensured that the chasing pack endured a frustrating afternoon.
?After round three I thought I was too far behind so I just went out and relaxed on the front nine,? he revealed.
?After that I realised that I was catching some of the guys ahead of me, and I was shaking on that final putt. It?s a dream come true to be honest, as it is for any Australian golfer who enters this tournament. After shooting a 76 in the first round it?s pretty hard to believe. But it is credit to me and my coach for all the hours we?ve put in on the practice ground.?
The tournament was dominated by the home contingent, and despite Senden?s victory one man made the majority of the headlines over the four days. Greg Norman, one of Australia?s finest ever golfers, announced before the tournament that this Australian Open would probably be his last. While the new generation of Australian golf looks in very good shape thanks to players like Senden, Scott and Ogilvy, there was little doubt that the galleries had come out in force to gain a sighting of the Great White Shark ? possibly for the final time.