Rory McIlroy ends barren run as season closes in Australia

World number six Rory McIlroy birdied the final hole to win his first tournament of 2013 – overturning Adam Scott in a dramatic one-shot victory at the Australian Open.

The Northern Irishman, 24, started the final round four shots off pace against leader Adam Scott, who had led all week at Royal Sydney. But McIlroy carded a satisfying 66 with an eagle at the seventh and four birdies in total to win outright on 18 under.

Scott, currently world number two, bogeyed the 18th for a 71 to finish his game on 17 under, six clear of fellow Australian countryman John Senden. Scott had been hoping to become only the second man after compatriot Robert Allenby in 1995 to secure the Australian triple crown, having already succeeded in victories at the Australian PGA and Australian Masters titles.

The game ended on a sour note for Scott, however, when his approach to the 18th green trickled past the flag and down the steep slope behind the putting surface. His chip back was over-hit and zipped 40 feet past, with the effort for par finishing fractionally short of the mark.

That gave McIlroy the opportunity to place a 10-foot putt for the title as he calmly rolled it into the centre of the cup for the win.

A jubilant McIlroy said: "I wanted to get a win and finally I've been able to get one.

"More satisfying than that is being able to take one of the best players in the world down the stretch and come out on top.

"Adam is a phenomenal golfer, a great competitor and probably an even better guy. I feel a bit sorry that I was the one that ruined the triple crown for him.

"I've been building confidence for a few weeks now. When I went to Asia I started to play really well. I've worked hard, I've put the hours in and I've practised hard and finally it's turned around for me."