Date: February 23, 2009
Author: Chris Pike, Sportal

Aussie pair all smiles

Australia&aposs top-two finishers at the Johnnie Walker Classic, Michael Sim and Adam Blyth, were both pleased with what they accomplished at the Vines. Final scores of 14-under in Perth put the pair in equal third place alongside Lee Westwood and three strokes behind amateur winner Danny Lee. Sim went into the final round in his hometown at 11-under and three shots behind co-leaders John Bickerton and Ross McGowan, his three-under 69 on the final day seeing him fall just short. Blyth was virtually out of contention coming into the final round at nine-under but that didn&apost stop him putting on a superb round of 67 on Sunday to soar up the leaderboard. Sim returned to the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth where he was first invited as an amateur in 2003 as an 18-year-old. Despite being pleased with his performance, Sim admitted he was a little disappointed he couldn&apost hold the lead he captured after 10 holes in the final round. “I played very well. On the back nine, I had a chance to almost win the tournament, made some good swings coming down the stretch but had a few bogeys coming in. It was nice to finish with a birdie though. I have always struggled on the greens here, I always over-read them so I was happy to shoot four rounds in the 60s,” Sim said. “I know it&aposs an issue for me in final rounds to try to block out the negatives. I&aposve been working with someone for the last couple of months and it&aposs starting to come around and I&aposm really starting to feel confident on the golf course now.” It hasn&apost been an easy ride since Sim turned professional in 2005 when he was the world&aposs No.1 amateur due to a debilitating back injury late in 2006. After some tough times getting back to the top of his game, he feels that it&aposs all starting to come together. “I struggled at the Masters in the final round and to play well here in front of my family and support group gives me confidence for the rest of the year. I&aposm planning on getting my US Tour card back and if I keep playing how I am now, I don&apost think I&aposll have a problem,” he said. “My form over the last six months has been really good. I haven&apost missed a cut in maybe 10 events, I have been playing solid golf so if you keep putting yourself in contention on Sunday afternoons, sooner or later you&aposll knock one off.” For Blyth, he was just pleased to play so well in the final round after a disappointing round of 73 saw him finish 10th at last week&aposs Malaysian Open after leading by a stroke after three days. “It&aposs a good result for me. I learned a lot from last week and took that on board for this week here. To be under the pressure again and to finish off with a five-under is a great result. I was a few holes back and couldn&apost get the birdies early. I played a nice solid round but I guess I just needed a few more holes in the end,” Blyth said. “I could have taken last week both ways. I could take it as a negative thing as a loss, or take it as a positive and learn from it. I learnt from it and applied what I didn&apost do right last week.” The 27-year-old Queenslander is still aiming for his first career win and knows that if he can keep performing well in the big tournaments that eventually his luck will change. “This will probably be my best result in a co-sanctioned event. I guess you have to take baby steps before you can win, I&aposm still learning and hopefully one day I&aposll get there. You can&apost force it,” he said. “I&aposm putting really well and drove just as well. I&aposve kept the ball in play and making use of the opportunities I&aposve been getting. I keep getting better.”