American wins Aus PGA at Royal Pines

UPDATE 5/12/16 6:36AM | American Harold Varner III has taken out the Australian PGA at Royal Pines.

He racked up nine birdies for a final round score of 65 on Sunday, to grab the $250,000 prize purse.

Queenslander Andrew Dodt led for much of the tournament but in the end he couldn’t hold on, finishing second on 17-under for the event.


Varner’s victory makes him the first non-Australian to lift the Kirkwood Cup since New Zealander Greg Turner in 1999.

“I’m just super excited.  After last year, it feels good to come back and finish it off,” said Varner.

“It’s been a blast for me, between the volunteers, the people, I can’t wait to come back.

“Yesterday when I got on the first tee and they said Adam Scott.  Well, actually, they went over all accolades, former number 1, Masters Champion I was like, well I’d pull for that guy too.

“Today when, Andrew made the putt on the 14th, par-3.  That’s when I knew he was Australian.

“I just wanted to find a way to birdie every hole, because that’s the only thing I can control.  I can’t control what Andrew does, I can’t control what Adam does.  The only think I can control is Harold.  That’s what I’ve learned over the time.”

Gold Coast Adam Scott finished in third place on 15-under for the tournament.

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UPDATE 4/12/16 8:28AM | Queensland’s Andrew Dodt holds the clubhouse lead as play continues on the final day of the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines.

He carded 70 in his third round on Saturday to be 14-under for the tournament.

Harold Varner III and Ashley Hall are tied for second a couple of shots back.

Gold Coaster Adam Scott is in a share of third place four shots off the pace.

The golfers at the top of the leaderboard are due to tee off before 11:00AM AEST.

EARLIER 3/12/16 | Andrew Dodt maintained his two-shot lead heading into the final round of the Australian PGA Championship after a day of dramatic twists and turns at RACV Royal Pines Resort.

The Australian entered the third round with a two-shot advantage after beginning the tournament 65-67 and while he extended that to three in the early stages, he would not have it all his own way on the Gold Coast.

Ashley Hall and Harold Varner III both recorded a pair of eagles as they attempted to chase him down, with Hall drawing himself level twice on the back nine.

Dodt was not to be passed, however, and five birdies and three bogeys in a round of 70 got him to 14 under, two shots clear of Hall and Varner.

Adam Scott and John Senden were then at 10-under as the top-5 broke away from the chasing pack.

Dodt made just seven of 20 cuts in a frustrating 2016 European Tour season but a win on Sunday would hand him a third European Tour title.

“It would be one of my biggest achievements, for sure,” he said.

“I mean, I’ve thought about it a couple of times this week but you don’t want to get ahead of yourself. You just want to play each round.

“It would be huge. All the top guys have won the Australian PGA, so it would be nice to put my name alongside them.

“My wins have been from behind so this position is new to me, which is nice, I’m enjoying it. I’m really trying to embrace it and enjoy my time out there on the course.

“The first three rounds are irrelevant now. There are a lot of solid players, world class players behind me, so I’ve got to keep the foot down tomorrow and keep playing the way I’m playing.”

When Dodt put his approach on the first to six feet, his lead was quickly up to three shots but that was as large as it would get.

The fourth had been an adventure for Hall so far this week with an eagle on day one and a triple-bogey on Friday and when he birdied it with Dodt bogeying the seventh, the lead was down to one.

The leader responded by birdieing the eighth and ninth for the third day in succession but Hall eagled the ninth to keep the gap one shot at the turn.

Scott eagled the same hole from 25 feet to keep himself within touching distance while American Varner – who missed out in a play-off here last season – broke a run of eight pars with a first birdie of the day.

Hall found himself in a share of the lead as Dodt bogeyed the 11th but the 30 year old hit an excellent approach into the 12th to bounce back and when Hall found sand off the tee on the 13th, the lead was back to two.

Scott fell back after finding water on both the tenth and 13th while Varner picked a shot up on the 12th but drama was to come on the 15th.

Dodt missed his chance to take advantage of the par five thanks to a poor tee-shot but Hall made an eagle to join the lead, with Varner picking up two shots of his own from 25 feet.

Dodt then edged his nose back in front with a birdie on the par three 16th but in the group ahead Varner made it two eagles in three holes as he holed out from the 17th fairway to get to 13 under.

Hall bogeyed the 17th and all three of the leading contenders then dropped a shot on the last to leave things finely poised heading into the final day.

Senden was a picture of consistency, making birdies on the fourth, eighth, ninth and 17th to join Scott at ten under, three shots clear of New Zealander Ryan Fox.

England’s Steve Webster equalled the low-round of the week with a 65 to get to six under alongside home favourite Scott Hend and American Julian Suri.