Sydney, November 20: American Jordan Spieth has emerged victorious at the Emirates Australian Open following a three-way playoff for the Stonehaven Cup.
With rounds of 69, 70, 68 and 69, Spieth finished regulation play tied with Queenslander Cameron Smith and Victorian Ashley Hall on 12-under 276.
It took just one trip down the 18th for Spieth to be pronounced the champion. He birdied the first playoff hole with the Australian duo unable to match him.
“We love coming here. I had a chance last year on 18 and didn't hit a great putt. This time I had that same chance with a very similar putt in the playoff and capitalised. I drew back a little bit on that and said this is our time to close this one out,” said Spieth.
“I didn't have much confidence in my swing on the last couple of holes today in regulation. I was able to calm down in between and said let's go ahead and prove to ourselves that we can make clutch swings when it matters.
“A few people probably wanted it to go back into Aussie hands and Matt Jones wasn't there to reclaim it. So we're happy to take it in his absence.”
This becomes Spieth’s second Emirates Australian Open title after he won in 2014 at The Australian Golf Club.
That win teed off Spieth’s phenomenal 2015 season which saw him win two Major Championships.
"We love coming here. I certainly plan on (coming back)...but how can you argue with coming here and getting the confidence we get out of this event,” added Spieth
"I have cut out a lot of overseas travel this year, but we still came here. That's how important this event is to us. I haven't gone anywhere else.
"Even if overseas travel is trimmed down, we still like coming here and plan to."
While Smith and Hall were disappointed not to be hoisting the trophy they have been consoled with starts at The Open at Royal Birkdale Golf Club next year.
“I’m happy. I haven’t been playing well lately, so it sits pretty good,” said Hall, who missed the cut in his last four tournaments leading into the Emirates Australian Open.
“I was pretty close to getting a job next year, in a couple of weeks’ time. I might not do that now, I’ve got some important tournaments to play next year, one in particular in July.”
With Smith adding, “I actually played with (R&A Deputy Championship Committee Chairman Peter Cowell) earlier in the tournament at the pro-am and so I guess that was kind of an omen.
“To have one of those spots is awesome. It’s the only Major I haven’t played in yet, so I’m keen to get over there.”
Joining them at the 146th Open will be Aaron Baddeley who received the final exemption after he finished tied 4th on 10-under the card alongside Jason Scrivener, Rod Pampling, Ryan Fox and Geoff Ogilvy.
Baddeley was provided the place by virtue of being ranked highest in the Official World Golf Rankings.
“It’s super exciting. I wasn’t in any of the Majors starting the year so being able to plan that I’m going to Birkdale is pretty exciting,” said Baddeley.
Finishing outright 9th on 9-under 279 was Jhonattan Vegas while Robert Allenby rounded out the top-10 one shot further back.
Following the Emirates Australian Open, Matthew Griffin continues to lead the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.
He is just over AU$7,000 clear of New Zealander Michael Hendry.