Adam Scott stood on the tee at the seventh with hundreds of spectators lining the fairway sensing something special.
After spectacularly birding the sixth from 30 feet to move to 14-under with three holes to play, having started five shots behind overnight leader Min Woo Lee at eight-under, Scott sniffed a second Australian Open as he went atop the leaderboard at The Australian Golf Course.
Standing at the tee box on the difficult par-four, with a strong wind straight into his firing line, Scott’s hopes were dashed with one pulled drive as calamity struck.
Scott found his ball. The issue is, he couldn’t put a swing on it with the ball stranded between the trees and protective netting.
After initially thinking he could get a drop, the radio came in and Scott’s ball was considered out of bounds.
“I first asked if it was inbound and, as I started trying to work out what to do, it was re-checked and it was out,” he said.
In that moment, Scott’s hopes were dashed with the 2013 Masters champion triple bogeying the hole. You wouldn’t have known it, though.
“It obviously doesn’t look very good, but it was a bad swing on one of the hardest holes and it’s cost me a chance,” he said.
“I don’t know, did I have a five per cent chance at the start of the day? It’s hard to be really upset at myself. I did a lot of good stuff to even make it interesting for myself, so that was fun.
“I think if it was the last hole, I might have stormed off,” he added.
Moments earlier, fellow Australian hope Min Woo Lee had battled his way through the opening nine holes of the course after bogeying four and seven.
The Australian PGA champion managed to get one back, but his 12-under was only good enough for outright third. Scott was fourth at 11-under.
Ultimately, the thousands who had stayed behind witnessed a stunning finale as foreigners Joaquin Niemann and Rikuya Hoshino went to a play-off after the Japanese star joined his rival by birding the last to join the Chilean at 14-under.
Niemann looked to have wrapped it up after a stunning approach on the par-five 18th gave him an eagle chance.
But Hoshino sunk his difficult up-and-down and Niemann missed the putt as it lipped out.
After playing the hole almost identically again, Niemann didn’t miss his next eagle effort to seal his first Australian Open.
Meanwhile, South African Ashleigh Buhai managed to sink a bogey putt on 18 to hold out Australian Minjee Lee.
The defending champion put her approach into the water before a stunning second effort and clutch second putt saw her finish nine-under.
Lee, 27, had a roller-coaster round but moved up the field into second, two shots behind Buhai, at the 18th.
Her eyes must have lit up when her rival put her second into the water, but Lee’s approach shot gave her too much to do as she finished with a par.