Date: February 18, 2007
Author: Marcus Wilson

Sterling holds off local

By Marcus Wilson at Kooyonga, Sportal American Scott Sterling has won the Jacob&aposs Creek Open Championship by one stroke at Kooyonga in Adelaide on Sunday. Sterling finished the tournament at 12-under after carding a final round 71. South Australian David Lutterus had a chance to force the event into play-off mode but missed a one-metre par-putt on the 18th. He shot a 72 and finished on minus-11. Sterling began the day poorly when he dropped shots on the first and fourth holes, but rediscovered some form with his putter and recorded birdies on the 12th, 13th and 14th and was in the box seat along the home stretch. He said his breakthrough victory on the Nationwide Tour was a real confidence booster. “You always have some kind of doubts but to come out on top is great,” he said. Lutterus also made a shaky start with three bogeys and birdie through four holes. However, his afternoon gained momentum when he cleverly hit a low ball out of the rough on the 10th to set up a birdie opportunity. He went blow for blow with Sterling and collected another two strokes through the back nine and even recovered from inaccurate tee shot on the 18th before blowing his playoff chances. The 21-year-old was disappointed that he didn&apost produce his best golf in front of strong home crowd. “I had a good feeling about today, I thought I was going to win,” he said. Victorian Marc Leishman ended the championship at 10-under after recording a 69 – one of the best rounds of the day. He looked a winning threat when he moved to minus-10 after 12 holes but failed to improve on that score. Brendan Jones finished the event on the same score. Consecutive birdies on holes one and two saw him move into the lead but bogeys at the fourth, sixth and eighth holes brought an end to his momentum. Brett Rumford, Craig Parry and Peter Senior didn&apost perform at their best in the final round and finished at minus-nine. Rumford had a poor start to his round, dropping a shot on the seventh hole and double-bogeying the eighth – where he needed two chip shots to get on the green and finished with a six. He picked up strokes on the 16th and 17th holes but had left his charge too late. Parry looked in good touch when he carded an eagle-three on the second but he bogeyed the next hole and dropped a further two strokes on the eighth to be back among the pack. He did birdie three holes in the back-nine but missed a short putt on the 18th to bogey. Overnight leader Senior had a disappointing day on the greens. Two bogeys and double-bogey on the eighth put him on the back foot after the front-nine, and when the championship was up for grabs he failed to make birdie attempts on holes 11 to 14. Nick Flanagan shot a 69 – which included three birdies in a row to kick off the back-nine – but he didn&apost do enough in the first three rounds to challenge the main contenders. He, along with Peter Wilson and Brad Ott, finished in a tie for eighth at minus-eight. American Roland Thatcher and Australians Andrew Pitt and Greg Chalmers finished the event at minus-seven.