Date: December 09, 2007
Author: Luke Buttigieg at Coolum

Lonard clinches PGA crown

With a superb seven-under 65 on the final day, Peter Lonard has captured the Joe Kirkwood Cup for a third time as winner of the Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship at Coolum. One back overnight, the 2002 and 2004 champion went to the lead immediately at the start of the day and surged clear from there, holding off an early challenge from 54-hole leader Rory Sabbatini and another later in the day from playing partner David Smail. Lonard claimed his ninth victory in Australia when he finished on 20-under, with his New Zealand rival Smail three shots back in outright second after a 68, while Greg Chalmers (65), Scott Laycock (66) and Michael Sim (70) were two further back in third. World No.6 and halfway leader Adam Scott (68) shared sixth place with South Australian Adam Bland (71) on 14-under, while Nathan Green and his namesake Richard were equal eighth on minus 13. JB Holmes (67), Michael Long (68) and Sabbatini (74) tied for 10th on 12-under, one clear of Brett Rumford (67) and Stephen Leaney (70) and two ahead of Peter O&aposMalley (68), Brad Kennedy (69), Cameron Percy (72), Scott Gardiner (72) and Jason Gore (75). Lonard began brilliantly with birdies at the first two holes to overtake Sabbatini and while he gave one of the shots back at the third his response was emphatic as he collected further birdies at the fourth, fifth and eighth holes. Sabbatini also made bogey at three as he temporarily drifted three strokes from the lead but he picked up four birdies to the turn to well and truly stay in touch, although Lonard continued to keep him at bay with another birdie at 10. The New South Welshman was also impressive in saving at the ninth, 11th and 12th holes, each time getting up and down safely for par, and when he birdied the 13th the trophy was as good as his. Having turned two-under for the day as he failed to keep up early, Smail did manage to match Lonard for much of the rest of the day, including with birdies at 13 and 15, but when his birdie putt at the 17th slid by the hole Lonard&aposs win was confirmed. Things went from bad to worse for Sabbatini on the back nine, the world No.11 stumbling with bogeys at the 11th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 18th holes as he came home in 41 strokes. Temperatures again climbed to the high 20s but the wind wasn&apost a major factor as scoring was again low, with 2006 New Zealand Open champion Nathan Green matching the low round of the tournament. A day after Gore missed the course record by one, Green did likewise as he went out in 31 with five birdies and then came home with four more, including three in a row to finish, his bogey at 14 the only blemish as he finished on 13-under. Scott Adland looked to have the Kel Nagle Plate as the leading rookie at the tournament all wrapped up when he led his only rival Andrew Dodt by three shots with just two holes remaining. Dodt had already closed with a 73 to finish on plus one overall but had to return to the course to accept his trophy after Adland hit out of bounds twice on the way to a quintuple-bogey nine at 17 and followed with a bogey at 18 to slump to a 78 and four-over.