GOLF: Brilliant young American Jordan Spieth has left some of Australia's best players in his wake at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.
He shot a course-record 63 yesterday to win the Australian Open by six shots.
The 21-year-old, runner-up to countryman Bubba Watson in this year's US Masters at Augusta, finished on 13-under, six clear of Queenslander Rod Pampling, who shot a final round of 68.
Fellow Aussies Brett Rumford (six-under), Greg Chalmers (five-under) and Adam Scott (four-under) were next, with world No.1 Rory McIlroy unable to mount a challenge, his final round of one-over-par 72 leaving him in a tie for 15th at two-over.
Spieth, who brought up his first win on the US PGA Tour in the John Deere Classic as a 19-year-old, said he had been staggered at how well he played in the final round.
"I didn't think that round was out there," he told the Seven Network.
"It's the best round I've ever played, no doubt, and the best win I've ever had.
"To be able to spread out from the field is a pretty amazing experience."
While most other players struggled to come to terms with the wind and the slick greens, the Texan played a faultless round, shooting four birdies in five-hole stretches on both the front and back nines.
After starting the day as a joint leader on five-under, Spieth kick-started his round with birdie on the third and made par on four before picking up shots on the fifth, sixth and seventh to move to nine-under, effectively putting his challengers out of touching distance.
Six straight pars followed, before another birdie on 14 took him to 10-under.
Any risk of a late collapse was blown away on the par-three 15th where his tee shot left him with a difficult putt from the verge of the green, but he judged the slope perfectly, extending his lead to six shots after his sixth birdie of the round.
He parred the 16th, before making birdies on the final two holes to become the first American since Brad Faxon in 1993 to win the Australian Open.
His round of 63 was an extraordinary coincidence, considering that was the score cricketer Phillip Hughes was on when he was tragically hit by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield match at the SCG last Tuesday.
The golfers wore black ribbons as a tribute to Hughes, and a cricket bat was left on the ninth tee yesterday, the 63rd hole of the tournament.
New South Welshman Aron Price, who played representative cricket in his younger days, marked his ball with '63 no' and placed it on the bat handle (pictured).
"Just to see that bat there I wanted to do something from my behalf, just to be part of it," he said.
"I was always a cricketer. I played representative cricket. I am a cricket diehard. I love my cricket. I think just the circumstances of how it has happened has shocked us as golfers. That's my opinion on it. It is so innocuous."
13-under: Jordan Spieth
7-under: Rod Pampling
6-under Brett Rumford
5-under: Greg Chalmers
4-under: Adam Scott
1-over: Rory McIlroy