Shark Ends Year on a Winning Note
PERTH – Greg Norman ended the year which took him to the summit of world golf as he should – a winner.
Norman shrugged off lack of motivation and tiredness on his 29th and last tournament this year to claim the $100,000 West Australian Open at Lake Karrinyup Country Club yesterday by one stroke.
After an indifferent start to the tournament with a 72 and 70, a phone call to his wife Laura in Brisbane fired him up for a sparkling 66 on Saturday and a confident 68 yesterday for a 12-under par total of 276.
Norman showed the effects of his grueling year when finishing behind Rodger Davis in last weekend’s Australian Open.
But his determination came back when Laura pointed out that he could lose the lead on the Australian prize money list.
Today’s $18,000 winner’s cheque is small change in a year which reaped Norman about $1.8 million from tournaments and the top of the United States earning list.
“I’ve got too much pride in me,” Norman said.
“I didn’t want want to leave the country on an average note. I wanted to leave on a good note.”
He added the WA title to those of Queesland, New South Wales and South Australia on this tour – believed to be the first time anyone has claimed four state titles in one year.
Norman also claimed five titles in the US and Europe, including his first major, the British Open. He also captained Australia to its second successive World Match Play championship in Scotland.
Norman now heads home to Florida for a well-earned six week break.
“I didn’t win the ones I would like to have won,” he said.
“But it would be interesting to see how many under par I was, how many birdies I made. I’m just over the moon about it really.”
Norman added that the WA tournament was the first he had won without playing up to his standard.
“I was so impressed by the way I played this weekend considering I was ready to stop on Thursday and Friday,” he said.
He began the day two strokes behind overnight leader and five-time WA champion Terry Gale but drew level with a 15-metre putt for an eagle at the seventh and grabbed the lead with a birdie on the par-five 11th.
Gale slipped another stroke behind with a bogey at the 12th but from then on Norman had to fight all the way.
The 31-year old Queenslander dropped a stroke at the 14th when his tee shot went bush. Norman blamed a photographer’s bad timing.
He gave Gale another ray of hope when the tournament looked over after his tee shot into the 18th strayed right under a bush.
But Norman, whose putting had been letting him down throughout, recovered with a 140-metre six iron and found found the hole when it mattered from four metres to save par.
“When you have to make it, you have to make it,” he said.