Norman Laps Aussie PGA Field
Power-hitter Greg Norman crushed the Australian PGA field by a runaway eight shots, scooped up $27,000, then declared he intends to complete the big double by winning the Australian Open in a fortnight’s time.
In between he will try for the rich $130,000 winner’s check this week at Kapalua on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
Prize money, the dashing Australian millionaire golfer said, is no longer a factor for him. He is just shooting for titles.
Yesterday on the rich green slopes of Monash with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, he wound up the PGA championship with a slashing 69 to complete all four rounds under par.
From the moment he rolled in the first of his birdies the tournament was history, over and done.
The rest were playing for second place prize money.
In the end it was Rodger Davis, his putting stoke transformed by some advice from Spain’s Seve Ballesteros, who grabbed the $16,200 second prize check.
Pail Foley bogeyed two of the last three holes to drop into a three-way tie with Ossie Moore and Graham Marsh — a costly $5,000 blemish.
Moore fired the day’s best round, a 67; and at the other end of the spectrum Billy Dunk fell out of contention with a 78 after a nightmare 41 homeward run.
Norman, who has set his heart on winning his first Australian PGA title, began the day with an apology and ended it with another.
Before play, he apologized to the PGA organizers for his critical remarks over the third-round final-hole postponement when a storm broke over Monash.
He said he felt he was entitled to say what he had and that the PGA had right to their views.
“I’m the type of guy if I’ve got something to say, I’ll say it,” he said. “I’ve got to get it off my chest. It’s the best way to treat life.”
When it was all over, he said he sympathized with the rest of the field and, with his victory assured, he felt he just didn’t want to get in their way as they battled for placing.
In a marvelous moment on the final green, Norman scooped up his blue-eyed two-year-old daughter, Morgan-leigh and carried her off in his arms to the PGA tent where he signed his card.
Norman played the brand of solid, fearless golf that has turned him into a superstar overnight in the US and Europe.
He drove with awesome authority and when he did miss a fairway, he recovered bravely with steeping iron shots over the trees.
He took three putts to bogey the sixth but two smart birdies sent him past the turn in a sub-par 35 — five shots ahead of Davis, his nearest challenger.
At the par-4 11th, he honed in a 5-iron to within nine inches of the hole for a birdie and then rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt at the next.