Sydney:Adam Scott has won his first professional golf tournament Down Under, shooting a final-round even-par 72 on Sunday to win the Australian Open by five strokes.
Scott, who has won 14 tournaments around the world but none in his native Australia since turning professional in 2000, began the final round with a two-stroke lead over Stuart Appleby.
He led Appleby by seven strokes with seven holes remaining before bogeying three of four holes, allowing his rival to get within three shots with two holes remaining, but held on for the win at the New South Wales Golf Club.
Scott finished with a 15-under-par total of 273 around the oceanside links-style course, with Appleby shooting a final-round 75 to finish second.
New Zealand's Michael Long (70), American Bryce Molder (68) and Australian Nick O'Hern (74) were tied for third at 282, nine shots behind Scott.
U.S. Nationwide Tour player of the year Michael Sim of Australia was the only player to finish all four rounds under par, shooting 71-70-71-71 to end the week 5-under and in sixth place.
The win comes in Scott's worst year on the U.S. PGA Tour, where he made only nine cuts in 19 tournaments and had just one top-10 finish - tied for second at the Sony Open in Hawaii at the beginning of the year.
"I always thought I'd get my chance," he said. "It's so bizarre, this game, that off the back off such a bad year I finally played good enough to win down here.
"I've worked really hard even though I've played terrible all year. But it pays off. You've got to stick with it."
Five-time Australian Open winner and Scott's mentor, Greg Norman, presented Scott with the Stonehaven Cup. Norman was a late withdrawal from the tournament due to his recovery from shoulder surgery.
Scott had his name inscribed on the trophy alongside players like Norman, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Peter Thomson.
"This is very, very special to me to win here." said Scott. "This is going to be very sweet and something I will treasure for the rest of my career."
The day didn't start well for Scott, who bogeyed the first hole while Appleby birdied, pulling them level. But Scott birdied three of the next four holes while Appleby bogeyed three of his next six to put Scott back in charge in their match-play style duel.
Scott appeared in trouble on the par-3 sixth when his tee shot failed to reach the green. But he scrambled to save par while Appleby three-putted for bogey to give Scott a four-shot lead.
Scott birdied the 10th and Appleby bogeyed to increase the lead to six, and stretched that to seven on the next hole with a birdie. But Scott had back-to-back bogeys on 13 and 14 and Appleby birdied the 14th, reducing the deficit to four strokes.
John Daly shot a final-round 71, finishing with a 2-over total of 290. Daly will play next week at the Australian PGA at Coolum in Queensland state, where Geoff Ogilvy is the defending champion and most of Australia's top players are scheduled to compete.