Chalmers takes Australian Open title in Sydney

Greg Chalmers has won the Australian Open after holding his nerve to finish 13 under par at The Lakes in Sydney.

Greg Chalmers has won the Australian Open after holding his nerve to finish 13 under par at The Lakes in Sydney.

The Australian left-hander made five birdies in a closing round of 69 and edged out compatriot John Senden by a solitary stroke after the latter’s long birdie putt at the last curled just around the back of the hole.

Former world number one Tiger Woods’ return to form saw him finish third, two shots behind Chalmers, but after finishing with an impressive 67 he would have been rueing missed opportunities during his third round of 75 yesterday.

Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy stormed home with a sizzling 65 to finish in a five-way tie for fourth place, while Adam Scott (68) was among the group of players at nine under.

American Nick Watney (72), Nick O’Hern (72) and Jason Day (74) equalled Scott’s 72-hole total after mediocre final rounds while Aaron Baddeley (69) and Ryan Haller (72) finished a further stroke back in a share of ninth.

Chalmers began the day two shots behind overnight leader Senden but reeled off three birdies in his first seven holes to take a two-stroke advantage.

Day earned a share of the lead with birdies at the eighth and ninth but it was Woods and Senden who emerged as the main challengers.

Having made the turn in 32 on the back of four birdies, Woods produced bogeys either side of a birdie at the 12th before igniting his round with an eagle at the par-five 14th.

Wearing his trademark Sunday red, the former world number one chipped in from just off the fringe to trail Chalmers and Day by a single shot.

He then produced a stunning long-iron approach at the par-five 17th but could only manage a birdie to end his chances of earning his first victory in two years.

Chalmers restored his two-shot buffer with a brilliant birdie at the par-three 15th after knocking his tee shot close the pin.

The 38-year-old then held his nerve with pars at the final three holes, including a fine up-and-down from the greenside bunker at the 18th, to ultimately secure the Stonehaven Cup – but not before more nervous moments as Senden birdied the penultimate hole and narrowly missed his birdie try at the 18th.

It was a superb fightback from Senden, who overcame a poor front nine that featured four bogeys to post four birdies on the back nine and finish level for the day.

Meanwhile, reigning American amateur champion Kelly Kraft (72) pipped Ryan McCarthy (71) by a shot to finish as the top amateur at three-under par.

"I've got my name twice on the Stonehaven Cup, that's phenomenal," said Chalmers.

“It’s one of the strongest fields we’ve had in Australian golf in a long time. But to go out there and get that done over the last two days and shoot eight under on the weekend, that does something to me, that really floats my boat.

“It’s very exciting. Now I want to win three. That’s just the nature of it.”

Woods, meanwhile, heads to Melbourne for next week’s Presidents Cup still searching for that elusive tournament win.

“I had the lead at Augusta on Sunday (in the 2011 US Masters), that was the last time I’ve been in that spot,” he said.

“It’s been a long time and unfortunately I haven’t played a lot of tournaments in between. I had a chance and I kept telling myself I need to post 13, 14 (under) to get it up there and see what happens.

“If not for two holes on the back nine today – and I putted awful yesterday - I would have been right there.”

“I was disappointed yesterday and found some of the old keys today. They were simple fixes, easy fixes. I had to reset my game and I hit the ball really good out there. Unfortunately I didn’t post the number I wanted to post.”

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