Date: November 27, 2005

Allenby Takes Out Second Australian Open

Victorian Robert Allenby today limped to victory in the MFS Australian Open, clinching a nail biting one-shot win after fighting injury throughout the final round. Allenby, who began the day with a five shot lead, stumbled to a last round 77 as he battled to control nerve pain in a finger of his right hand. The winner of the title in 1994, Allenby finished four under the card on 284 after shooting 63-72-72-77 to pocket first prize of $225,000. He won from Queenslander John Senden, West Australian Nick O Hern and Paul Sheehan from New South Wales, who tied for second at three under par. One shot further back were Tasmanian Mathew Goggin and Victorian Aaron Baddeley, the former dual Open champion. Victorian Martin Doyle, at one under the card, was the seventh and last player to finish the tournament under par. Allenby, who injured his finger in a mishap at the 16th hole during yesterday s third round, stumbled through the front nine as he fought to control the pain in his hand. He slipped further back to the field after four bogeys on the outward nine, then slipped with another three coming home. A par five at the last gave him the title – a fine result after he was forced to undergo intensive therapy on his hand throughout last night and this morning before hitting off. I needed every shot, that is for sure. I thought I was even going to need one more at the end, Allenby said. The hand let me down in the first five or six holes – I was scared that it wasn t going to hold up throughout the day and I was just too scared to commit to shots. When I was four over after about six holes I said, I ve got to do something. I ve got to forget about the hand and I ve just got to go play golf, he said. The golf course was so tough, the ball was moving on the green, every single shot is a tough shot, not just hitting it off the tee, not just chipping, not just iron shots…putting was just awfully tough. Yesterday was tough but today was nearly impossible. I think the hardest thing for me today was knowing that I started with a five shot lead and it was just one of those days when you could just lose two or three shots in one hole. I was making bogeys, but I was making good bogeys – I was stopping myself from making doubles and that s what I really needed to do out there. Allenby said he was continually frustrated at not being able to play the way he wanted to. It’s just so hard when you want to lead and you want to be aggressive but you can t, he said. But he defended the difficulty of the course which has come under fire from some players. It’s your national title, it s like a US Open, that s the way it s meant to play, Allenby said. You can t say, oh it s too tough. I read the papers this morning, I read the comments of a lot of players. It’s the same for everyone, we all have to play it so why whinge about it and why not just get on with it and play. I was happy to see everyone whingeing about it because I knew that they weren t going to win, he said. I knew they had no chance, as soon as you complain about something and be negative. I knew that Nick O Hern, Sendo (John Senden) and Sheeo (Paul Sheehan) – I just knew that those three would be the ones still hanging around at the end of the day. Obviously Sheeo pushed me all the way to the end, making birdie at 17 which has got to be one of the toughest holes out there today. It was just nice to hang in there at the end and be holding the trophy. by Robert Grant