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Scott outlasts Garcia to win The Honda Classic by one stroke

Cleary, puts to rest the notion that his career would suffer with a short putter

Adam Scott was in a tight duel with Sergio Garcia for the entire round Sunday at PGA National, Scott stayed out of the water and closed with an even-par 70 for a one-shot victory. It was his first title since Colonial in May 2014, and his first time winning with a conventional putter since the 2010 Singapore Open.

The timing of his victory also was a big statement for the 35-year-old Australian.

Scott won in just his third start since a new rule took effect that bans the anchored stroke typically used for the long putter that he had the past five years. Scott switched back for good at The Presidents Cup. This was his 10th start since then, and only twice has he finished out of the top 10.

Scott opened with a 10-foot birdie that settled him and led by no more than two shots until back-to-back bogeys around the turn. But it was a two-man race all day, and Scott seized control when Garcia missed a short par putt on No. 11 and Scott hit a fairway bunker shot to 2 feet for birdie on the next hole.

The only nervous moment was on the 16th hole when Scott had a one-shot lead.

Garcia hit a poor pitch and was headed for a bogey. Scott left his 40-foot birdie attempt 10 feet short, and the par putt stopped short of the hole to keep the margin at one heading to the raucous 17th, a par 3 over the water.

Scott’s 7-iron covered the flag, and it was no small relief for him when he saw it hit the green. Garcia made another bogey, and Scott had a two-shot lead going to the 18th, where a par was enough for him to win for the 12th official time on the PGA TOUR.

The victory proved to be validation that he can still get around with a short putter. Scott won 18 times around the world with a short putter, including THE PLAYERS Championship and the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.

He switched to a long putter that he anchored to his chest at the 2011 Match Play Championship, and contended at the Masters two months later. Scott won seven times with the long putter, including the Masters in 2013 when he was the fourth winner in the six majors to use an anchored putting stroke.

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