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Varner gets revenge and first title at PGA

NZN 4/12/2016 Scott Bailey

Until Sunday, the closest American Harold Varner III had come to a top-tier win as a professional golfer was at last year's Australian PGA Championship.

On that occasion at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast he lost in a playoff to Nathan Holman - but this time he wasn't going to be denied.

Nine birdies in the final round contributed to a seven-under-par 65, taking him to 19 under for the tournament and two shots clear of Queenslander Andrew Dodt and another two ahead of third-placed world No.7 Adam Scott.

"I just wanted to find a way to birdie every hole," Varner said.

"After last year it feels good back to come back and finish it off."

Since turning professional in 2012, the 26-year-old's only three victories have come on the USA's third-tier eGolf Tour in 2013.

Inspired by Tiger Woods as a youngster, he became the first African American to graduate from the Web.com to the US PGA Tour, which he did a little more than a year ago

Ranked 184th in the world, he recorded four top-10 finishes last season and picked up more than $US1.3million ($A1.7 million) in prize money.

However, he said none of that compared to Sunday's victory.

"Winning is just different," he said.

"Obviously top-10s you get money but it's just hard to win.

"I don't care where you tee it up ... This is pretty special."

The $250,000 winner's cheque and Joe Kirkwood Cup aside, the triumph also gave him entry to the WGC's Brigestone Invitational next year in his hometown of Akron, as well a two-year exemption onto the European Tour which he will use whenever he has a free week from the PGA Tour.

During his red-hot run on Sunday, the prize was never in the bag until the penultimate hole.

Starting two shots back on potential wire-to-wire winner Dodt, Varner took the lead on the eighth for the first time since early in the second round, but then bogeyed the 14th to go back into a tie for first.

However, birdies on the 15th and 17th sealed the deal, despite Dodt going bogey-free and three under in the final round.

"I would have taken that at the start of the day," Dodt said.

"Harold's seven-under final round in those conditions - hats off to him," Dodt said.

"That was as good as it gets."

World No.7 Scott had to settle for third place, two shots further back, after a patchy closing 67 in his last event of the year.

His anticipated charge was halted by uncharacteristic errors off the tee in an up-and-down round.

The former world No.1 regularly found trees, rough or bunker as he attempted to win his second Australian PGA title.

Scott sunk a 10-metre eagle putt on the 15th to surge back into contention, however he could only par the final three holes.

Victorian Ashley Hall, who began the day in a tie for second with Varner, finished fourth, five shots off the pace after a 70.

Brett Rumford shot a 67 to finish fifth, while Dutchman Darius Van Driel (67), amateur Brett Coletta (69) and veteran John Senden (74) all tied for sixth at eight-under.

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