Sunday, November 30, 2008

MELBOURNE, Australia(AP) Rod Pampling won the Australian Masters on Sunday, beating Australian countryman Marcus Fraser with a par on the third playoff hole.

Both players parred the first two playoff holes, with Pampling holing a testy 5-footer on the first extra hole. On the second, Fraser made a 20-footer for par after hitting his approach into a bunker.

Pampling closed with a 5-under 67 to match Fraser (65) at 12-under 276 on the Huntingdale Golf Club course. Australia's Robert Allenby shot a 73 to finish third, three strokes back in the event sanctioned by the Australasian and European tours.

On the third playoff hole, Fraser's putt from off the green nearly went in. He missed the return putt of about 7 feet for par, while Pampling made a 3-footer to win the 30th anniversary Masters.

``They're never fun to be in. You work so hard for 72 holes then you still have to go again,'' Pampling said. ``That was a great battle. I hit a lot of quality shots and that's all I kept telling myself every time we got back to the 18th tee was, 'Hit a shot. Hit a shot.' There was no stress at any stage.''

A regular on the European tour, Fraser had about a 45-minute wait in the clubhouse after finishing his round. Pampling had a chance to win it outright on 18, but his 25-foot putt for birdie ended up inches short.

Fraser had some anxious moments before the playoff started. His wife, Carlie, who is eight months' pregnant, had to be taken to hospital for observation for the second time Sunday when she fell ill late in his round.

Fraser said his wife had been to hospital earlier in the day as a precaution and returned after play finished when she again showed signs of early labor.

``I just hope that she's all right and the baby's OK, that's the priority,'' Fraser said. ``Golf's not even in the picture.''

Last year, Australia's Aaron Baddeley beat Sweden's Daniel Chopra with a par save on the fourth hole of a playoff at Huntingdale.

``I got myself in position to score well on nearly every hole,'' Fraser said. ``It's the best I've played in a while.''

Allenby shared the third-round lead with fellow Australian Michael Sim, who shot a 77 to finish seven strokes.

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