The Cathedral Invitational was always going to mark the end of Adam Scott’s competitive year, and far from coasting through, the Queenslander showed up to win. Scott doing just that and picking up some inspiration for 2024 along the way.
Out in the blockbuster final group alongside Cameron Smith and Geoff Ogilvy, a result that had Cathedral Lodge and Golf Club founder David Evans pleased beyond measure, Scott stood head and shoulders above his highly credentialed challengers Wednesday.
Opening with a birdie to stretch his one shot overnight advantage over Smith to two, Scott appeared in complete control until a club error at the par-5 11th resulted in bogey.
The dropped shot helping the former World No.1 to refocus and eventually sign for a four-under 68 and 12-under total.
Todd Sinnott and Jeffrey Guan the nearest chases at the end of 36 holes on nine-under, three shots back of Scott who lifted his first trophy since the 2020 Genesis Invitational.
“It feels good, it’s just really satisfying to just keep playing good golf,” Scott said.
“I am out here to play, I am going to try my best, and to win something is good for the confidence.”
The confidence boost to be applied when the 2013 Masters champion starts his campaign next year, with Scott buoyant on his prospects moving forward after a stretch where he finished sixth at the Australian PGA, tied fourth at the Australian Open and became the second ever champion of the Cathedral Invitational.
“I’m sure if I get in some kind of contention position for next time, I will have to draw on the experience of closing it out here nicely,” he said.
“I think, I’d sum it up by saying I’m trending pretty good.”
Similarly trending during the final round were Guan, Sinnott and Justin Warren who emerged as Scott’s most likely pursuers on the final day.
As Scott reached the turn in three-under, Smith and Ogilvy sat one-over for the day while the less heralded trio began pressing. Smith eventually signing for a level par round and share of fourth with Blake Collyer, who closed with 65, while Ogilvy shared 12th on five-under.
Guan’s charge coming via hitting greens with regularity as Sinnott continued to play bogey-free golf and Warren reached 10-under through 12 holes.
The New South Welshman the first to drop back and allow Scott breathing room after he made double bogey at the 13th and triple at the next.
Warren’s assessment a simple one.
“That’s golf, it’s just brutal,” he said.
Guan’s challenge didn’t come to as dramatic an end, his bogey-free 69 concealing just how close he came to at the least forcing Scott’s hand at the last having played in the group in front.
Reaching the par-5 last in two, Guan gave his eagle try everything, with a low side lip out followed by a missed birdie meaning the new pro had to settle for a share of second with Sinnott, whose own hopes were dashed when he finally dropped a shot on the 35th hole to finish on nine-under.
Nineteen year old Guan’s assessment of competing with the likes of the “big three” final group and very nearly trumping them a perfect encapsulation of the overall feel of the tournament.
“It felt surreal,” he said.
As the challengers faded, Scott only got better. His birdie at the par-3 17th the result of a “perfect club” that also allowed him to conservatively play the last, even knowing the thousands watching would have preferred a different strategy.
“We were playing it as a three-shotter anyway,” Scott said.
“I know it’s not super exciting, but you kind of have to do what you have to do to make sure you win.”
Win he did, with Scott presented the trophy by Evans, who he was once again full of praise for following the involvement of the Adam Scott Foundation. The 43-year-old planning for a much quieter period in Australia.
“Hopefully relaxing,” he said.
“I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of weeks playing down here, it’s been great atmospheres. I can’t say enough about how many people have come out and supported all these events down here.
“These few weeks are inspiring for me going into next year to do big things and come back with lots of trophies.”
As for whether he will be back next year to defend his most recent trophy.
“I’m sure I’ll be back next year.”
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