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Sunday, 07 August 2011
Adam Scott  (Getty Images)
Adam Scott (Getty Images)

Adam Scott produced a nerveless final-round display to claim victory in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

The 31 year old Australian, who had previously triumphed seven times on both the European and PGA Tours, carded a bogey-free 65 to reach 17 under and finish four clear of Luke Donald and Rickie Fowler.

Scott was caught by fellow Australian Jason Day and then by Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa on three separate occasions over the front nine, but responded each time.

He birdied the long second, then matched Ishikawa's birdie on the 10th and opened up a two-shot gap by chipping in from 15 feet at the short 12th.

Another birdie at 14, courtesy of a sizeable putt, extended his advantage and by the closing holes it was clear the remainder of the field were battling it out for second place.

Scott, who has now returned to the world’s top ten, put the seal on a superb performance with a birdie at the last, following a towering iron shot to around seven feet that almost found the hole for an eagle.

His victory came with the assistance of Steve Williams, who helped Tiger Woods to a sensational seven victories at Firestone before being dismissed as the American’s caddie last month.

Asked what help Williams was to him, Scott smiled and said: "Around this place, are you kidding me? He knows it better than anyone and I've really enjoyed this week with Steve.

"It was a good round. I stayed so patient and picked my moments. I'm really stoked. To win here in a World Golf Championship is huge.

“The way I closed it out, I was really happy with, too, so overall extremely happy.”

“This is obviously one of the biggest wins of my career, to win a World Golf Championship is what I set out to do this year with the majors, a real focus on the big events, and I think I've done a pretty good job so far of getting myself in the hunt.

“The goal is to give myself a chance to win these big events.  It's what I've wanted to do my whole career, and for whatever reason I haven't performed my best. But I really feel like I've got a good plan in place to get myself ready for these events now.”

World Number One Donald and American youngster Fowler each completed their final round in 66 strokes, with the latter emulating Scott by keeping a bogey off his card.

“Having the stretch that I've had coming into the PGA Championship, it's definitely the best I've been playing going into a major,” said Fowler.

Donald’s solitary dropped shot came at the 14th, but he recovered by birdieing two of his last three holes to secure yet another top-three finish.

“It was a good week,” said Donald. “It’s probably one of the best ball-striking weeks I’ve had for a while. It’s disappointing I didn’t make a couple more putts and give Scotty a good run, but there are still a lot of positives.

“I'm not going to worry too much about the putter. I've always felt like I'm a good putter, and those things will come around. I've just got to keep being patient and keep giving myself opportunities. That's all I can do.”

The prodigiously talented Ishikawa, meanwhile, was hampered by inconsistency as he mixed five birdies with four bogeys. He shared fourth with Day, who trailed Scott by one heading into today’s round, on 12 under.

US Open Champion Rory McIlroy fired a second consecutive 67 to climb into a tie for sixth on ten under.

The Northern Irishman bogeyed his opening hole today, but then recorded birdies on the second, fourth, eighth and 16th and will head into next week’s US PGA Championship in confident mood.

“It's been a very productive week to shoot four rounds in the 60s and have a good weekend,” said McIlroy.

“It would have been nice to give myself a little more of a chance to win, I just didn't hole enough putts.  But you know, it was a good week and a good confidence builder going into next week.”

World Number Two Lee Westwood was a shot behind McIlroy, having surged up the field with a flawless display on the final day.

Westwood birdied the second, third and ninth to turn in 32 and picked up further shots at the 12th and 14th to finish with a 65.

“I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but today I felt a lot more confident on the greens, and saw the ball setting off on the line that I picked a lot more often,” said the Englishman.

“I haven't hit many bad shots. I think I missed, not counting semi rough where sometimes it runs off these fairways, probably three fairways, so that's pretty good golf around here.”

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