PGA American Varner's breakthrough win in Australian PGA

Varner, 26, who lost in a three-way play-off in last year's event, fired rounds of 65, 72, 67 and 65 for 19-under 269.

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Harold Varner III of the US celebrates winning the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines, Gold Coast on December 4, 2016 play

Harold Varner III of the US celebrates winning the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines, Gold Coast on December 4, 2016

(AFP)
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American Harold Varner III claimed his first professional victory at the Australian PGA Championship Sunday on the Gold Coast by two strokes.

Varner, 26, who lost in a three-way play-off in last year's event, fired rounds of 65, 72, 67 and 65 for 19-under 269.

He prevailed in the final round with nine birdies in a seven-under 65 to beat Australian overnight leader Andrew Dodt to win the European Tour co-sanctioned tournament at the Royal Pines Resort.

Dodt, who led for three rounds, finished with a three-under par 69 to take outright second at 17-under 271.

World number seven and 2013 Augusta Masters champion Adam Scott carded his best round of the week, a five-under 67, to finish in third place with 15-under 273.

Varner came closest to winning his first top-level pro event when runner-up after a three-way playoff with Dylan Frittelli and eventual 2015 champion Nathan Holman a year ago.

"I just wanted to find a way to birdie every hole," Varner said. "After last year it feels good back to come back and finish it off."

Varner, ranked 184 in the world, posted four top-10 finishes last season with more than $1.3 million in prize money.

But he said none of that compared to his breakthrough Australian victory.

"Obviously top-10s you get money but it's just hard to win. I don't care where you tee it up ... this is pretty special," he said.

The Aus$250,000 ($186,500) winner's cheque from the Australian PGA triumph also gave him entry to the WGC's Brigestone Invitational next year in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, as well a two-year exemption onto the European Tour.

Varner, starting two shots behind overnight leader Dodt, hit the front on the eighth, but then bogeyed the 14th to go back into a tie for the lead.

However, birdies on the 15th and 17th edged him clear despite Dodt going bogey-free and three under in the final round.

Australian Ashley Hall was fourth on 14-under with compatriot Brett Rumford fifth on 10-under.

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