Allenby cruises to Australian PGA title


COOLUM, Australia – Robert Allenby shot a 5-under-par 66 Sunday for a four-stroke victory at the Australian PGA and his second tournament win in two weeks.

Allenby, who won last week’s Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, claimed his fourth Australian PGA title. His last came in 2005, when he swept all three tournaments in the so-called Australian Triple Crown – the PGA, Open and Masters.

The 38-year-old Allenby, who only entered the tournament on a sponsor’s invite three weeks ago when Vijay Singh withdrew with a knee injury, finished with a 14-under total of 270 on the par-71 Hyatt Regency resort course.

Fellow Australians John Senden (67) and Scott Strange (69), were tied for second. Marc Leishman was in fourth after a 68, five back of Allenby.

“There were a lot of great players behind me, and I never knew what they were going to do,” Allenby said as he walked up the 18th fairway with the victory secured.

“When you start with the lead, all you have to do is to hold it and don’t do anything stupid. I’ve had my emotions intact all day.

“I did what I had to do, from the first hole to the last hole. I felt totally in control on every shot. It’s a nice feeling to win in that fashion.”

Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy, who started the day two strokes off the lead, shot 71 and was tied for seventh at 7-under 277. Rod Pampling had the best round of the day – a 65 – including five straight birdies on the back nine – to also finish at 7-under in a group that included Stuart Appleby (68).

Last week’s Australian Open champion Adam Scott, who threatened for the lead early Sunday, hit two balls in the water on 18 and took a triple-bogey 7 for a 73 and a tie for 12th, nine back of Allenby.

John Daly shot 72 and finished with a 1-over total of 285, 15 strokes back of Allenby and tied for 40th place. Daly also made the cut at last week’s Australian Open, a big improvement on his performance Down Under last year when he failed to qualify for the weekend in all three Australian tournaments.

Allenby, who started the day with a one-shot lead, played consistently well all day, When he did miss a fairway – on the par-5 12th – his shot from the right rough bounded on to the green, where he two-putted for a birdie that gave him a two-shot cushion.

Ogilvy, Scott and Michael Sim, playing in the second-last group of the day, all birdied the first hole, but the trio had its problems the rest of the day – Scott and Sim with two bogeys on the front nine and an increasingly frustrated Ogilvy with three bogeys in six holes that left him trailing Allenby by five strokes with nine holes to play.

Sim finished with a 70 and tied for fifth with Nick O’Hern (67).

The tournament has been played at Coolum on Queensland state’s Sunshine Coast for eight years and is in the final year of its contract with the Australasian PGA Tour.

Local organizers are hoping to sign a new contact early next year which would see the event remain at the course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., who also oversaw the construction of six new opening holes used for the first time this year.