THE satisfaction from closing out a tournament under pressure matched against a world-calibre opponent is set to fuel newly crowned Australian Masters champion Adam Scott in his quest for one of the majors next year.
The 32-year-old finally filled the hole in his resume reserved for a gold jacket when he upstaged defending champion Ian Poulter by four shots in a gripping final-round duel at Kingston Heath.
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Adam Scott claims his maiden Masters
At Kingston Heath on Sunday, Adam Scott out-performed overnight leader Ian Poulter to secure his first Australian Masters title.
With a consistent year still to translate into a tournament victory, Scott made it clear his Masters and Australian Open campaigns would be about playing himself into a ''winning habit'' that would endure through the 2013 major schedule.
First stop in that journey is the US Masters at Augusta in April, and the world No. 5 said he planned to use his triumph at Kingston Heath as a springboard to his first major win.
''I've said for the last two years that's all I am out there to do, and everything else is part of the process of getting there. Winning here is an important part of that winning-a-major process,'' Scott said.
''Winning is a habit. It's tough to win out here so if you can get into a habit of winning … then that is confidence-building going into next season and what I'll do leading up to Augusta.
''The Australian Masters is a tournament I've been wanting to win since I was a kid and watching since I was really young. So it's great to achieve that and maybe I can set a theme of winning jackets and turn it green next year.''
In a surprise twist to the marquee match-up, it was uncharacteristic mistakes from the usually ice-veined Poulter, who went into the final round one shot ahead, that opened the door for Scott.
The one-upmanship with close friend Scott that had provided the highlight reel for the Englishman's eight-under-par round of 64 on Saturday continued through the front nine on Sunday as it took seven holes for the pair to record the same score.
But poor execution on bold approach shots on the 12th and 14th holes from Poulter - and an inexplicable missed tap-in that he didn't even set up for on 17 - led to three bogeys that helped take the pressure off crowd favourite Scott.
It was then up to the Australian to keep his cool in front of the big galleries, and he delivered, performing all his showtime under-the-card work early and then holding on for eight-straight pars down the stretch before rolling in a 15-foot putt for birdie on the 18th.
More than just his polished round of five-under 67, which put the finishing touches on four solid rounds to make up 17-under, most satisfying for Scott was his ability to close out a tournament, with the memories of his infamous British Open self-destruction still fresh.
That he was able to achieve it by out-playing Poulter, the Ryder Cup hero, on a day when the rest of the
field were making up the numbers, was just as significant.
''I didn't want to let another opportunity slip by once it got down to the last few holes and I was in the lead,'' he said.
''It was good to get back in that position and close a tournament out. It's what I need to do. It was good to feel those nerves in the last few holes where shots are crucial.
''I have been working hard and I haven't been back in that position until today, but I felt good out there. I just had to trust that all the work I put into my game would hold up - and not get it my own way - that's the big thing, not letting the thoughts of what happened at the [British] Open come into play.
''The confidence you take out of that big stage really helps.''
Poulter, who shot an even-par 72 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 13-under, admitted errors pulled the rug from underneath his title defence, but the world No. 16 did not take anything away from Scott.
''He stayed tight for a long time and I made a couple of errors on the back nine where I was overly-aggressive into a couple of pins and I paid the price for that,'' Poulter said, after confirming he would return to Australia in the future.
''I made a fatal error on 17, kind of stretching over Adam's line to tap in, and that made it a little easier for Scotty going up the last,'' he said.
''All credit to Adam. He shot five-under today and it was tricky, it was windy, it was playing a lot tougher today than it was yesterday.
''He played solid and forced me into a couple of silly mistakes.''