Senden scorches to Australian Open win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Senden scorches to Australian Open win

By James Dampney 19/11/2006 06:32:28 PM Comments (0)

John Senden has waited 14 years for a break-out season of professional golf, with the Queenslander capping an outstanding 2006 with victory in the $1.5 million Australian Open at Royal Sydney.

Senden stormed home with birdies on the final two holes in a course-record seven-under par 65 to overcome some of the biggest names in Australian golf.

The 35-year-old finished on eight-under 280, one stroke ahead of US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy (67), with 2001 Australian Open champion Stuart Appleby (68) and Gavin Coles (70) a shot further back in equal third.

Overnight leader Nathan Green, world No.4 Adam Scott and two-time winner Aaron Baddeley were all left in Senden's wake on a thrilling final day.

Senden, who turned professional way back in 1992, started the day four shots off the lead.

But he reeled off eight birdies and one lone bogey to emerge a deserving winner and pocket the $270,000 winner's cheque.

It follows a great season on the US PGA Tour, when he finished 45th on the moneylist with $2.15 million in earnings and won the John Deere Classic.

"It was a dream come true definitely. I've been working hard for it," he said.

"It's been since I was 13 years of age, (coach Ian Triggs) and I have been working damn hard to get the golf swing in order and keep on building as a player and a person and a professional.

"It's hard to believe really."

Ogilvy fell just short in his bid to join Gary Player as the only men to win the Australian and US Opens in the same year, a feat the South African achieved in 1965.

The Victorian had a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th to get into a playoff, but had to settle for par in an impressive bogey-free final round to finish outright second at seven-under.

Ogilvy could only applaud Senden's outstanding finish that proved the difference after 72 holes of enthralling golf.

"Eight-under was the obvious number that was going to win the tournament with a few holes to play," Ogilvy said.

"I didn't see somebody birdieing the last two holes to do it. That was pretty impressive."

Green had led the tournament at the completion of each of the first three rounds, but his brave tilt at a wire-to-wire victory ended with an even par 72 and a tie for fifth place.

Scott (70) is also still waiting for his first tournament victory in Australia, finishing alongside Green at five-under par.

Greg Norman finished possibly his final professional appearance in Australia with a final round four-over 76 to lie in a tie for 26th at six over the card.

Senden started the week with a four-over 76 in horrendous conditions, but responded with rounds of 72 67 and 65 to add his name to the prestigious Stonehaven Cup.

Wife Jackie missed the event as she helped Senden's parents on their 120,000-acre cattle property, which like much of the country is struggling with the drought.

"Should've been here, hey?" Senden told Jackie on his mobile phone.

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