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Golf: Van Pelt denies Dufner in Perth

Two Americans battled it out on a dramatic final day on Australia’s west coast.

File photo of Bo.
File photo of Bo.
Image: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP/Press Association Images

BO VAN PELT has won the ISPS Handa Perth International, outlasting compatriot Jason Dufner in a sizzling final round.

For much of the day it was like a good heavyweight title fight, with Dufner and Van Pelt trading blows of the highest quality at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club.

In the end, it was 37-year-old Van Pelt who prevailed, carding a four-under-par 68 to finish on 16 under, two shots clear of Dufner who shot 69.

Beginning the day one stroke clear of his countryman, Van Pelt got out of the blocks well with birdies at the first and third, opening up a two-stroke lead over Dufner in the early going.

For the second successive day, Dufner produced a stunning chip-in for birdie at the par-five seventh – after finding the bunker with his second shot – to close to within a stroke.

But, not to be outdone, the big man from Oklahoma responded with a long-range birdie putt of his own just moments later to reassert his two-stroke advantage.

Dufner found the bunker off the tee at the par-three eighth, forcing a dropped shot, and Van Pelt comfortably made par to stay three shots ahead. The world number 10 would not go away, however, birdying the ninth to be two adrift at the turn.

Both men birdied the 10th, and Van Pelt repeated the dose at 11 to go three shots ahead once again.

A superb approach from Dufner to 14 set up a birdie, and when Van Pelt produced his first bogey for the round at the same hole the margin was back to a solitary shot. A birdie at 15 steadied Van Pelt while an errant putt from Dufner at 16 pushed the gap back out to three.

There was one more twist when Van Pelt dropped a shot at 17, but he held his nerve for a par at the 18th to take the title.

With Van Pelt and Dufner duelling it out at the top of the leaderboard, third place was there for the taking with youngster Emiliano Grillo – so gallant for the first three rounds – starting to toil.

The 20-year-old Argentine dropped shots at seven and eight, and although he picked one up at nine, bogeys at 12, 16 and 18 took a toll.

In the end it was Spain’s Alejandro Canizares who claimed third, as he was one of a select few to register a birdie at the par-four 18th this week, which moved him to 11 under.

Momentum

New Zealand’s Michael Hendry capped off a good four days with a 69 to finish fourth on nine under. Grillo finished tied for fifth with Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, Welshman Rhys Davies and England’s David Howell.

Aussie Greg Chalmers was briefly in a three-way tie for third on 10 under, but a double bogey at 16 ruined his momentum and a further dropped shot at 17 pulled him back to seven under and 10th place.

That made him the best placed of the Australian contingent, one ahead of fellow Aussie Steve Jones and Norway’s Knut Borsheim.

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