Craig Parry held his nerve to shoot a final-round 69 and win the Australian Open title for the first time in 24 attempts yesterday.
The 41-year-old Australian called on all his experience in miserable wet conditions to reel off a closing round of three-under par 69 to finish the tournament on 11-under 277 and a winner's check of A$315,000 (US$277,000).
He set up the victory with a course record-equalling 64 in Friday's second round, and effectively sealed the win when he made a crunch 4m putt for par at the 17th after his drive found a fairway bunker.
Parry played no-risk golf at the last hole of the Australian golf course to shut the door on challengers and secure his first tournament win in two years.
Parry had won 12 titles at home -- including three Australian Masters -- from his 22 triumphs worldwide and had come close to winning his national championship, including a playoff loss to American John Morse here in 1990.
But he played nerveless golf in the closing nine holes to finish with rounds of 74-64-70-69 to beat Australians Nick O'Hern (70) and Lee Won-joon (66), and US PGA Tour rookie of the year Brandt Snedeker (69).
"This has obviously meant a lot to me for a long time," Parry said. "[In] 1984 I was leading amateur and Tom Watson was the champion.
"I've been close a few times, runner-up a couple of times and top three about eight times and just could never get there," he said.
"I've always loved The Australian golf course, it's been a great golf club for me, winning the NSW Open here [in 1987] and when it was coming back here I got pretty excited," he said.
Parry has spent the past season in Japan to be closer to his family after years travelling the US and Europe.
But he has now earned himself a start in next year's British Open and also claimed his third PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit crown, having previously won the title in 1995 and 2002.
Lee, 22, who emigrated to Australia with his family from South Korea when he was four, almost stole the tournament with a stunning final round, which included five birdies on the inward nine.
Snedeker called a penalty on himself with five holes to play when he tried to remove a leaf and his ball moved. The resultant bogey cost him the chance of reaching a playoff with Parry.
O'Hern, Stuart Appleby and another Australian, James Nitties, also had chances to force a playoff if they could have eagled the final hole, but none managed it, with O'Hern's putt for a three narrowly sliding past.
Nitties, joint overnight leader with Robert Allenby, missed his chip for an eagle at the par-five last in torrential rain.
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