by Jeff Skinner
The wait is over for Rory McIlroy. The former world number one put an end to a troubling 2013 with his first win of the year as he beat Adam Scott on the final hole at the Emirates Australian Open.
McIlroy fought back from four shots down at the start of the round and needed a little help from Scott to finally claim his first victory in over a year. It wasn’t easy for McIlroy even with three birdies and an eagle in an error free round going into the final hole.
Scott still managed to hold a one stroke lead over the Northern Irishman but over shot the eighteenth green with his approach and could only manage a bogey five to drop to seventeen under par. That left McIlroy with a ten foot birdie putt for the win. McIlroy rolled it in dead center and with it killed Scott’s hopes of pulling off the Australian Triple.
Scott was trying to become the second player to win all three of Australia’s big events in one season: The Australian Open, Masters and PGA. Robert Allenby hit the triple in 2005 and Scott was hoping to duplicate his feat as he completed his “Welcome Home Tour” at the Open.
McIlroy, showing plenty of class apologized for running Scotty’s quest. “Adam is a phenomenal golfer, a great competitor and probably an even better guy and I feel a bit sorry that I was the one that ruined the Triple Crown for him.”
“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.”
Bur McIlroy certainly recognized the importance of finally breaking through. “I wanted to get a win and finally I’ve been able to get one. 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.”
World number two Scott couldn’t help but feel he let one get away. He missed numerous short putts to let McIlroy back in and despite his wonderful run in Australia, “Nothing was going my way on the greens today,” Scott said. “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.”
Both players showed their class as they left the green but a bit later Scott acknowledged how tough this one was, “It’s just the way golf is. I’m gutted. I felt like I never had a better chance to win the Aussie Open.”