Craig Parry wins first Australian Open title

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{image-craig parry_17122007.jpg}Sydney, Dec 17: Australian Craig Parry won his first Australian Open title at the age of 41 holding off a pack of challengers in steady rain at The Australian course on Sunday.

Parry called on all his experience in the miserable conditions to reel off a closing round of three-under par 69 to finish the tournament on 11-under 277 and a winner's cheque of 315,000 dollars (277,000 USD). He set up the tournament with a course record-equalling 64 in Friday's second round, and effectively sealed victory when he made a pressure four-metre putt for par at the 17th after his drive found a fairway bunker. Parry played no-risk golf at the last to shut the door on his challengers for his first tournament win in two years.

Parry shot rounds of 74-64-70-69 to beat Australians Nick O'Hern (70), Korean-born Lee Won-Joon (66) and US PGA Tour rookie of the year Brandt Snedeker (69).

Snedeker called a penalty on himself with five holes to play when he tried to remove a leaf and his ball moved. The resultant bogey cost him the chance of reaching a playoff with Parry.

Lee, 22, who emigrated to Australia with his family when he was four, almost stole the tournament with a stunning final round, which included five birdies on the inward nine.

Australian James Nitties, joint overnight leader with Robert Allenby, had a chance of forcing a playoff but missed his chip for an eagle at the par-five last in torrential rain.

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