Mon, Nov 27, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Rose holds nerve to win Australian Masters by two

AP , MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

England's Justin Rose tasted tournament victory for the first time in four years yesterday, holding his nerve and his overnight margin to win the Australian Masters by two shots.

Rose survived a triple bogey at the par-five seventh to card a final round 73, one over par, and to hold off the challenges of Australians Richard Green and Greg Chalmers.

He shot 69, 66, 68, 73 for a four-round aggregate of 276, 12 under par, to claim the winner's gold jacket, a check for US$207,000 and his first tournament win since the British Masters, one of his four victories in 2002.

Tenacious

Green, the 2004 Australian Masters champion, and Chalmers finished 10 under par on 278, one stroke ahead of tenacious amateur Aaron Pike, who led the tournament through its first two rounds and held on for fourth place.

Rose's winning bid almost came unstuck at the seventh hole yesterday when he found a bunker from the tee, caught the lip when playing out and ended with an unplayable lie in bush next to the fairway.

He chipped out and found the green but three-putted for a triple bogey eight, which stripped away the three-stroke lead he had established after six holes and left him tied at 11-under with the charging Chalmers.

Chalmers had steadily worked his way into contention but his challenge collapsed when he five-putted the ninth hole. He finished with a 73, tied with Green who had played himself into contention with a closing 69.

Shot of the day

Pike struck one of the best shots of the day, holing a bunker shot at 14 to regain a share of the lead at 11 under par.

However, Rose's steady nerves over the last nine holes helped him reestablish his lead while Pike had a three-putt bogey at 17 and a further bogey on the last hole when his 17m putt missed the holed and dribbled into a greenside bunker.

"I can't believe it's been four years," said Rose, who won for the third time on the European tour and became the first non-Australian to win the Masters since Scotland's Colin Montgomerie in 2001.

"It's been a big week confidence wise for me. I've had a few close calls this season but to win a tournament like this is great for my confidence," he said.

Australia's Aaron Baddeley finished in fifth place at eight under par, while Kurt Barnes took sixth a shot further back.

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