England’s Kipp Popert, Poland’s Adrian Meronk and Ashleigh Buhai from South Africa stole the limelight at the Australian Open.  Photo courtesy Golf Australia.

IT was the day of the international raiders at the Australian Open as players from Poland, England and South Africa took the championships home.

Before another big crowd at the sandbelt jewel Victoria Golf Club, Adrian Meronk became the first Polish player to win the Stonehaven Cup for the men’s Open in the tournaments’ long history, finishing it with an exclamation mark when he eagled the 72nd hole.

World No. 1 Kipp Popert, from Kent in the United Kingdom, conjured a stunning final-round 69 in difficult conditions to overtake the leaders and win his first Australian All Abilities Championship as the Open celebrated the sport’s inclusivity.

And South African Ashleigh Buhai completed the year in which she won her first major, the Women’s Open, by making par at the last to hold off Jiyai Shin of South Korea to win the Patricia Bridges Bowl as Australian Open women’s champion by a shot.

The Australians fell away on the final day despite incredible crowd support.

Meronk duelled all afternoon with Adam Scott but ultimately won by five shots against the man who was his inspiration as a young man. 

Adam Scott slipped up late in the final round.

Scott was close all day until he took iron for safety off the tee at the par-4 17th (71st) hole and deposited it so far right that it was out of bounds.

Similarly in the women’s Open Sydney’s Grace Kim had a great chance, reaching 11-under par and in a tie for the lead as she walked to the 18th tee, but Kim drove it into a fairway bunker and her first attempt to clear the sand failed, and a double-bogey seven ensued that cost her any chance of victory.

Perth’s Min Woo Lee and Hayden Barron in third and tied-fourth positions enjoyed the extra benefit of earning a place in the 2023 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool as a result of finishing in the top-three players not already exempt. Spain’s Alejandro Canizares also receives a spot in the field for Liverpool. 

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