Melbourne - Nick Cullen held firm in a tense finish to win the Australian Masters by a stroke in Melbourne on Sunday and frustrate Adam Scott's bid for a hat-trick of titles.
Starting three strokes adrift at Metropolitan Golf Club, the 30-year-old South Australian carded a three-under-par 69 for a nine-under total of 279, one ahead of world number two Scott (68) and two other compatriots in James Nitties (70) and Josh Younger (69).
Scott was four off the pace at the first tee, and though he pushed hard on the back nine, his hopes of a record third successive win at the A$1 million tournament were thwarted on the last hole, when a monster birdie putt lipped out to the groans of a packed gallery.
"Today was definitely the best I've swung my club, putted and chipped and did everything well today," Scott told reporters.
"It's just hard. Some of the pins were really tough today. I made a couple of errors like probably most everyone did, and probably from where I was I needed to make none."Leading scores after the final round of the Australian Masters at the
Metropolitan course (par-72) in Melbourne on Sunday (Australia unless
279 - Nick Cullen 73-71-66-69
280 - Adam Scott 73-68-71-68, Josh Younger 70-70-71-69, James Nitties 72-71-67-70
281 - Matthew Griffin 71-69-72-69, Aron Price 68-73-71-69, Adam Bland 75-68-69-69, Paul Spargo 70-67-71-73
282 - Rhein Gibson 68-74-75-65, Robert Allenby 70-73-71-68
283 - Anthony Houston 71-68-75-69, Bryden Macpherson 70-71-72-70, Matthew Guyatt 70-69-73-71, Lucas Herbert 75-70-65-73
284 - Boo Weekley (USA) 72-72-70-70, Brett Rumford 74-68-71-71
- David McKenzie 72-70-74-69, Todd Sinnott 67-71-77-70, Steven Bowditch
67-75-73-70, Ryan Ruffels 75-68-72-70, Tom Bond 70-72-72-71, Stephen
Dartnall 72-73-69-71, Peter Wilson 70-71-72-72, Chris Campbell
286 - Zac Blair (USA) 70-75-69-72
287 - Kyle Stanley (USA) 69-73-73-72
292 - Riley Wheeldon (CAN) 71-70-81-70