AAP Golf

Mexican golfer Ancer wins Australian Open

By AAP Newswire

Abraham Ancer hopes to emulate the feats of Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy after joining the superstar duo on the Stonehaven Cup with a historic Australian Open triumph at The Lakes.

Ancer streeted the field to become the first Mexican to win the Open after closing with a nerveless 69 on Sunday to finish five shots clear of the field at 16 under.

The 27-year-old etched his name on the famous trophy alongside not only Spieth and McIlroy but legends Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman.

"I'm on cloud nine right now. It's been a phenomenal week," Ancer said.

"Obviously I did a little bit of research and the names on this trophy are absolutely incredible - Jack Nicklaus, recently Spieth, McIlroy ... a lot of names that are extremely recognised in the world of golf and I'm really, really happy that my name's going to be there now."

Ancer's winning margin over NSW runner-up Dimitrios Papadatos - who closed with a 67 - was the biggest for an Open at The Lakes and the biggest at any Open since Spieth won the trophy for the first time at The Australian four years ago.

Queenslander Jake McLeod, the winner of last week's NSW Open, rebounded from the disappointment of falling out of contention on Saturday with a brilliant last-round 66 to finish third at 10 under.

McLeod had been leading until being penalised a stroke for waiting too long for what he thought was a birdie putt to drop on the fourth hole of the third round.

Both McLeod and Papadatos joined Ancer in earning a start in next year's British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland with their top-three finishes.

But the day belonged to Ancer, who stylishly converted his five-stroke third-round lead into just his second professional tour win.

His only previous victory came on the secondary Web.com Tour at the 2015 Nova Scotia Open.

Collecting birdies at the fourth, eighth and ninth holes, Ancer was seven clear by the turn and never truly challenged.

The breakthrough will send him to 60th in the world rankings and comes after blowing 54-hole leads twice on the US PGA Tour this year.

His next aim will be to crack the world's top 50 before December 31 to secure a spot in next year's Masters field at Augusta National as he attempts to make his mark at the majors.

McIlroy and Spieth won both two majors the year after winning the Australian Open and Ancer hopes his victory will propel him to similar lofty heights.

Pre-tournament favourite Cameron Smith closed in style with a 66 for his third straight top-10 Open showing at seven under.

Brendan Steele, in a tie for 12th, was one stroke further back and the best of the American US PGA Tour stars.

Keegan Bradley and Matt Kuchar both flopped with final-round 75s to finish at four and three under respectively.