Date: July 21, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes @ St Andrews

Arnold cashes in on 66

There are few things more important to a golfer than a 66 in the final round of an Open at St Andrews.

But the cash associated with his charge to five under and T40 is critical to Scott Arnold as he battles on the secondary European Challenge Tour.

So, reluctantly, the honest Sydneysider confessed after his scintillating closing round that it was keeping the bank manager at bay that gave his greatest joy.

“Probably the cheque, to be honest,” he said with wry grin, having collected around $58,000.

“Obviously to shoot 66 the last day of a major is not too bad, but the money is more important for me at the moment.

“A few years down the track I don't think it would be, but yeah, definitely the money.”

Arnold took advantage of the benign early conditions in the final round and made four birdies in a quality outward nine of 32 before two more birdies coming home.

“I’m very excited. Today I played really well, hit the ball tee to green pretty much how I have all week, and holed a few more putts, which was nice,” he said.

“(I got) a few little tips, went out on the putting green and just saw a few things in my alignment and a few things like that, and worked a treat today.”

Arnold said he surprised himself by how at ease he felt in major championship company for the first time.

“I don't know if it's because I played here so many times, but yeah, I didn't really feel out of place, which is a good thing.

“Hopefully going back to these smaller tournaments like the Challenge Tour, I can hopefully feel like I'm one of the better players there and keep playing how I'm playing and hopefully chalk up a win — hopefully next week would be nice.”

And it opened his eyes to the major championship possibilities ahead, too.

“Definitely. I think I can play. Obviously I’ve just got to have the opportunity to get out there and play.

“But hard work, and (if) you play well, you'll get there in the end. So that's the outlook I'm taking. If I just keep playing well, everything else will take care of itself.”

Other Aussies early out in the final round enjoyed mixed fortunes.

Brett Rumford was gallant, playing as he has all week in pain after major surgery.

The West Australian said he couldn’t buy a putt, but hit the ball as well as at any time since his March operation to remove 30cm of bowel.

“It has been a long week, but I’m proud of how I hung in there and competed when I wasn’t 100 per cent,” Rumford said after three late bogeys consigned him to a 75 and even-par finish.

“I don’t want to make any excuses. I played really well and just am a bit short of a run.

“I’m going to rest up for a while now. Rest is the only thing for it.”

John Senden mixed four birdies and two bogeys in an entertaining front nine; his final tally of 71 left him at five under alongside Arnold.

Geoff Ogilvy did what he’d done earlier in the week, going on an early charge only to see his good work come undone late.

The Melburnian closed with a birdie for a 72, but the four bogeys in the preceding five holes left him with a feeling of what might have been en route to a five under finish.

Marcus Fraser set the Old Course alight in one magical hour from the fifth hole to the 11th, ramming in four birdies to soar briefly to 10 under and on to the main leaderboard.

But the Corowa ace found the going harder in the closing holes with bogeys on the 13th, 14th and 17thdropping him back to seven under after a closing 70.

Matt Jones savoured a bit of everything.

The Sydneysider closed with a spectacular eagle two on the last, but it came after a double-bogey on the second and a rollercoaster ride in between.

His 72 left him at six over and tied for 30th.

Steve Bowditch didn’t have his best stuff today, unable to make a putt that might have kickstarted a run.

Having for less than a minute shared the lead in the third round, the Queenslander faded to a finish alongside Jones at six under.

His round was still even through 14 holes today, but bogeys on the 15th and 17th consigned him a 74.