Rose secures long-awaited victory

Englishman Justin Rose captured his first European Tour victory in four years by winning the co-sanctioned MasterCard Australian Masters in Huntingdale.

Englishman Justin Rose captured his first European Tour victory in four years by winning the co-sanctioned MasterCard Australian Masters in Huntingdale.

Rose carded a final round one-over 73 to be 12-under overall, but he had to hold off a challenge from several Australians, including amateur Aaron Pike.

Rose, from Hampshire, also made a disastrous triple-bogey at the par-five seventh which threatened to derail his hopes, but the world number 69 showed true grit to bounce back and don the gold jacket the winner of the event receives.

World number 15 and tournament drawcard Paul Casey double-bogeyed the first on his way to a final-round 77 – 10 strokes worse than his third-round score - which left him in a share of 17th place.

Pike provided the day’s highlight by holing a bunker shot for eagle on the 14th – which Rose eagled in the third round – the stroke jumping the 21-year-old into a share of the lead at the time at 11-under.

But Rose, playing in the final group and following Pike, responded with a birdie at the 555-metre hole, and after giving a shot back at the 15th, another birdie at 16 set up the win.

Richard Green, the 2004 champion, carded a final-round 69 to finish at 10-under, joint-second with Greg Chalmers who sunk a long birdie-putt on the last for a round of 73.

Chalmers had earlier shared the lead when he was 11-under after eight holes, but a shocking five-putt on the ninth ended his winning hopes.

Pike suffered the embarrassment of sending his 50-foot birdie putt on the 18th into a greenside bunker, the resultant bogey dropping him into outright fourth at nine-under.

Aaron Baddeley staked his claims for a first MasterCard Masters win by making birdies at 10, 12 and 14 to get to nine-under, but after lipping out his putt for birdie on the 17th, the two-time Australian Open champion dropped a shot at the last to finish fifth.

Big-hitting New South Welshman Kurt Barnes ended with a 70 to claim sixth place, while Tasmanian Mathew Goggin signed for the low round of the day (67) to wind up in a tie for eighth with Englishman Simon Khan (73), Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin (76) and Victorian Jarrod Lyle.

Australian Matthew Millar’s closing 70 moved resulted in him sharing 11th-place with 1997 and 2002 champion Peter Lonard (75) and left-hander Adam Bland (74).

Australian Open champion John Senden – who started his bid for consecutive tournament victories in fine style with opening rounds of 68 and 69 – closed with a 73 to finish at four-under alongside Nick O’Hern (74) and Peter O’Malley (74).

Robert Allenby had a disappointing end to his title defence by making a double-bogey on the 18th in a round of 76 – even-par for the championship.

Pre-tournament favourite Stuart Appleby also carded a 76 to finish plus four overall.

Earlier, Rose birdied the sixth – to make him 12-under on par-fives for the week at that point – to set up a three-stroke advantage over Chalmers, but after finding the bunker from the tee on seven, he then caught the lip and his ball speared into the bushes.

A subsequent unplayable lie, chip-out and three-putt on the green, left the Englishman reeling before Chalmers’ horrible error at nine, however, Rose recovered immediately by picking up a shot at the eighth before his steely back-nine efforts.

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