Andrew Dodt was full of praise for Harold Varner III after the American outduelled him in a thrilling final-day contest to win the Australian PGA Championship.
The duo had held a share of the lead after round one at RACV Royal Pines Resort but Dodt was the dominant player in the field on Friday and Saturday, taking a two-shot lead into the final 18 holes.
Varner overturned that to lead after nine holes and, while Dodt pegged him back twice on the back nine, birdies on the 15th and 17th saw the 26 year old sign for a 65 and take victory by two shots.
Dodt's bogey-free 69 would have been enough to win many a tournament on a Sunday, and the local favourite was left to hail the performance of his rival, who was beaten in a play-off at this event 12 months ago.
"That was some round by Harold, to shoot seven under on the final day in those conditions is very special, so hats off to him," he said. "That was as good as it gets.
"I’m pretty proud of the way I handled myself out there today, I would’ve taken a bogey-free 69 at the start of the day but it wasn’t good enough in the end.
"It wasn’t my day on the greens, especially on the front nine. I gave it a good go on the back nine but Harold was just too good today. It’s as simple as that."
World Number Seven Adam Scott eagled the 15th to get within two of the leader but Varner pulled away to leave him four shots back, and the 2013 champion could only echo the sentiments of Dodt.
"It was my best round of the week and it wasn’t good enough unfortunately," he said. "But I kept myself in it for most of the day and they’ve just played better.
"I think I did what I could today but yesterday’s back nine probably is the costly one. But everyone can find shots here and there. They just played better this week."
|1||VARNER III, Harold||USA||18||-19|
|T6||VAN DRIEL, Darius||NED||18||-8|