Adam Scott solidifies No 1 with PGA Colonial victory: ‘Maybe some validation’

Playing his first tournament since assuming golf's world No 1 ranking this week, Adam Scott pulled out a play-off victory on Sunday over Jason Dufner at the PGA Tour's Colonial tournament.

Adam Scott celebrates a birdie putt on the thrid play-off hole to defeat Jason Dufner and win the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial on Sunday. Marianna Massey / Getty Images / AFP / May 25, 2014
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Adam Scott made a 7-foot birdie putt on the third hole of a play-off Sunday to end his first week as the world’s No 1 player with a victory at Colonial.

Jason Dufner, who made a 25-foot birdie putt on No 18 in regulation, slid a 40-footer past when he and Scott played the 18th hole for the second time during the play-off. Scott then made the 7-footer for his 11th PGA Tour victory.

“It’s so satisfying in so many ways to get it done,” Scott said. “It’s a good feeling, and maybe some validation.”

Only days after officially overtaking injured Tiger Woods at No 1, Scott bogeyed four of his first nine holes in the first round at Colonial. Midway through his final round, Scott had a double bogey that dropped him three strokes off the lead.

“Maybe added a little pressure for myself, trying to play like a No 1. But I think the important thing was I realised that didn’t mean playing perfect, and I certainly didn’t play perfect all week,” Scott said. “But the way you come back and get it done, and I felt like I certainly played like one of the best players in the world out there on the back nine.”

The Australian certainly did with consecutive birdies in the play-off.

The major champions parred No 18 to start the play-off before matching birdies at the 17th hole. Dufner, who won the PGA Championship last year, hit his approach pin high on 17 to 4.5 feet, but 2013 Masters champ Scott drained a 14-foot birdie before Dufner putted.

“It’s tough to beat him. He’s a great player. It’s tough to concentrate, he’s so good looking, too,” Dufner joked. “I thought maybe I could sneak one in there on 17, but he topped me.”

Scott and Dufner both shot 4-under 66 to finish at 9-under, the highest winning score at Colonial since 1999. They started the final round part of a seven-way tie for 11th place, but only two strokes behind a quartet of leaders.

To stay No 1 in the world ranking, Scott had to be in the top-13 at Colonial after Henrik Stenson finished in a five-way tie for seventh place in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The win at Colonial, which came with $1.152m (Dh4.23m) and a plaid jacket, made Scott the first player to win all four PGA Tour events in Texas. He is the 15th to win both the Byron Nelson Championship (2008) and the Colonial in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Nicholas Thompson (66) and Freddie Jacobson (67) tied for third at 8-under.

David Toms, in the final group, led at 9-under when he made his turn. But he had three bogeys over the next five holes and finished with a 70.

Toms ended up 7-under with Brendon Todd (68), who last week got his first PGA Tour victory at the Nelson. Jimmy Walker, No 1 in the FedEx Cup standings, shot a 70 was tied for 10th at 6-under.

About 30 minutes after Dufner made his long birdie at No 18 to get to 9-under, Scott made a closing par after just missing a 31-foot birdie chance that would have wrapped up the victory. It was just less than an hour later when the two went back to No 18 to start the play-off.

Scott finished about the same time Toms was coming off bogey at the par-3 13th that dropped him two strokes back.

Scott was already 8-under after making a 6-footer at the 406-yard No 6 hole, his fourth birdie in the round and already with a bogey at the par-4 third when he three-putted from 24 feet. His only other three-putt at Colonial came from 17 feet at the ninth hole, dropping him to 6-under.

“I didn’t want to let this one slip,” Scott said. “As always, a bit of luck involved. And to come out on top is a really satisfying feeling, and hopefully keep No 1 for at least another week.”

Dufner, who was also second at Colonial two years ago, gave up a stroke when he missed a par putt from less than 3 feet at the straight 615-yard 11th hole. When his 12-foot birdie chance at the 440-yard 12th hole slid a half-foot past the cup, Dufner stood momentarily and stared at the ball before tapping in his par.

Scott caught up with consecutive birdies on those same holes, pitching to 9 feet at No 11 before his approach at No 12 to 4 feet.

Dufner had another near miss at No 15, where another lengthy birdie chance slid inches by the hole. Scott got to 9 under with a 39-foot birdie putt at the 453-yard 14th hole.

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