David Graham shot a 71 today to win the $200,000 Australian Open by three strokes after a tense tussle with Don January.
Graham, 31, an Australian, finished the four-day event with a four-under-par 284, collecting $40,450. His victory ended 12 years domination of the Australian Open by foreign golfers.
January, who turned 48 Sunday, held a one-stroke lead going into the final round. But his putting crumbled and a bogey on the par-five 18th gave him a three-over-par 75 and put him in a three-way tie for second with Bruce Lietzke and John Lister of New Zealand.
Graham holded a putt from 12 feet for the decisive birdie at the 17th, which put him up by two strokes.
Jack Nicklaus, the defending champion and five-time winner of the Australian title, soared to a disastrous six-over-par 80 and finished 12 strokes behind Graham on the course he helped he helped redesign for this year's torunament.
Jack Newton of Australia finished third with a 288 total, followed by Mark Hayes and Jerry McGee at 290.
Graham received a check worth about $20,000 less than the first prize - courtesy of the Australian income tax department.
"That's a bit strong. Why should the tax department hold 50 per cent of my income at no interest for six months?" Graham said.