Clark wins Australian Open

Tim Clark: “It’s not the way I really like to win a tournament”.

Mathew Goggin: “It’s really not the way I like to lose a tournament”.

Aussie Golfer wandered around Royal Sydney today soaking up the electric atmosphere and the sun rays which were both lacking on Friday. In fact the only feeling of an “electric atmosphere” was when a steward launched a golf cart into a hidden bunker an hour after rain had forced play to be suspended. Only a few people saw it and after realising he had somehow escaped injury, it was viewed with hilarity.

The area around the 6th, 9th and 13th greens is close to the best tournament golf area Aussie Golfer has seen. The action on closely adjoining greens and tees made it hard know where to go. David Smail knocks his tee shot on the 6th to within a couple of feet, Mathew Goggin nails a birdie on 13 and Tim Clark does the same thing soon after.

Trying pick a group to follow proved difficult and it was tempting to follow the great Billy Birmingham around. Surely he would know where the win would come from? Unlike many golf commentators, he’d be worth listening to. Tim Clark looked hot coming off three birdies in four holes and we followed him down the 14th (via the Carlton Draught bus/bar) and saw him bunker the tee shot, scull it across the green, chip on and two putt for double bogey. I was looking for Billy.

Trudging on towards the distant sounds of the 17th party hole we crossed paths with Mathew Goggin on plenty of occasions. It was tempting to mention the $200 I had almost won prior to his capitulation at Coolum last week but he seemed in the zone and I chose to keep quiet. David Smail was doing everything right and it appeared a Kiwi was to take another piece of Australian silverware.

Myer were handing out $2500 for the best dressed golfer on course each day, the drunks on 17 were giving advice to each player that came through. Up at 18, Tim Clark and Mat Goggin had posted 9-under par and the name “Smail” began to drop lower and lower on the scoreboard. A playoff was now on the cards with the question being, could David Smail arrest this back nine disaster and make the playoff?

Australians do tend to take a small amount of satisfaction when the Kiwis choke at the Rugby World Cup but no one took satisfaction with David Smail’s fall from a 4-shot lead. He’s been around a long time and this was his biggest chance in a while. We hope he gets another one. It wasn’t nice to see.

Another disaster was just around the corner. Tim Clark’s miraculous up and down for par from the greenside bunker on the first playoff hole was brilliant. All class. We assumed he’d forced another playoff hole. Mathew Goggin then missed his 4 foot putt for par. Tim Clark wins.

It was an amazing day and a tournament that had everything. Strong winds, camera throwing, cold rain, scorching heat and a fantastic, world class golf course with more stuffy members than you can shake a Stonehaven Cup at. Don’t tell them about the electric cart incident, ok? They won’t find it nearly as funny as I did.

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