Rory McIlroy’s first victory of 2013 came in dramatic fashion, as McIlroy drained a birdie putt on the final hole at Royal Sydney Golf Club to win the Australian Open by one shot over Adam Scott.
“I wanted to get a win and finally I’ve been able to get one,” McIlroy said. “But more satisfying than that is being able to take one of the best players in the world down the stretch and come out on top.”
Here are 5 Thing you need to know from Sunday in Sydney:
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1. WHAT A FINISH: McIlroy trailed Scott by four shots entering the final round, but evened things at 17 under after an eagle at No. 7 and a birdie at No. 8.
Scott birdied the ninth to take a one-shot advantage, a slim lead that he’d hold going into the final hole, the par-4 18th.
But after his approach sailed long, Scott chipped well past the hole before two-putting for bogey. That’s when McIlroy took advantage, sinking a 10-footer for birdie to come away with the victory at 18-under 270.
“I didn’t think it was going to unfold the way it did,” McIlroy said. “It’s hard not to feel some guilt in the way I won it. Having a one-shot lead going into the last having it taken away from you right at the very end, it’s tough.”
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2. NO TRIPLE CROWN: Already a winner of this year’s Australian Masters and Australian PGA, Scott was attempting to become just the second player to win the Australian triple crown after Robert Allenby accomplished the feat in 2005.
Scott, who shot a course-record 62 in his opening round at Royal Sydney, couldn’t get anything going with the putter on Sunday, missing six putts of 12 feet or shorter.
“Nothing was going my way on the greens today,” said Scott. “I could have put this thing away early on if the putter was behaving how it should have, how it did the rest of the week.”
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3. SEE YOU AT ROYAL LIVERPOOL: With McIlroy and Scott already qualified, three players earned spots in the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool with their performances this week in Sydney.
John Senden, the 2006 Australian Open champ, finished third at 11 under while Bryden Macpherson and Rhein Gibson tied for fourth at 9 under.
Senden has played in seven Opens, including the last two. Macpherson, a second-year pro out of Georgia, competed at the 2011 Open as an amateur and missed the cut. Gibson will be making his first Open start next year.
‘To be honest, I wasn’t really thinking about the Open,” Gibson said. ”I was just trying to finish as high as I could. That’s just a bonus.”
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4. NOT THE POTATO CHIP: Ryan Ruffels may have missed out on low-amateur honors to Brady Watt after a final-round 73 dropped him into a tie for 24th.
But the 15-year-old Australian, who made match play at the U.S. Junior Amateur this year, still enjoyed the experience of his first Australian Open.
”I’m only 15 and I’ve got plenty of these to come,” Ruffels said. ”To be able to get it to 6 under at one point for the tournament; I can fight it out pretty good in these sorts of arenas, as well, as against all these pros and I’m not out of place playing these big tournaments.
“If I can keep playing like this and come top 30 when I’m 15, there’s a lot more positives to come if I keep working hard.”
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5. SHORT SHOTS: A week after winning both individual and team titles at the World Cup of Golf, Jason Day tied for sixth at 8 under. . . . Watt tied for 14th to win low-amateur honors. Other notables tied for 14th at 6 under included Stuart Appleby, Nick O’Hern and Alistair Presnell.
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Information from The Associated Press and the Sydney Morning Herald was used in this report.