Cam Smith – file photo USGA
Cam Smith will take a share of the 54-hole lead into Monday’s final round of the Northern Trust at Liberty National in New Jersey following a stunning third round of 60 which was just a twelve-foot putt from a round of 59.
With a severe storm scheduled to hit the area on Sunday, a decision has been made to carry the final round of the opening event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs over to Monday to avoid the disruption the weather event (Hurricane Henri) is forecast to cause, so Smith will have to wait a little longer to see whether a third individual PGA Tour title is in the offing.
Smith laid the blame on the missed opportunity completely on himself. “I actually thought it was going to kind of stay straight and then drop a little bit right there at the end off the bunker, and yeah, just didn’t do it. I hit a pretty good putt, good speed and I mean, looking back at, it I don’t know how I read it to go that way, but it is what it is.”
It was, though, a very special milestone for the 28-year-old Queenslander. It was his lowest ever round and the most amount of birdies he has recorded in any one round and, importantly, he shares the lead with Jon Rahm as the event heads into the final round.
That is, of course, provided there is another round as, dependant on the severity of the storm and its repercussions, it may be that the tournament is reduced to 54 holes, but that is all ahead.
Smith’s consecutive nines of 30 had him in and out of the lead as he waited just under three hours for the final pairing of Jon Rahm and Tony Finau to finish their rounds, Rahm’s roller coaster over the closing stages
Smith now has a projected standing of 2nd in the FedEx Cup standings and is guaranteed to advance to the Tour Championship in two weeks but first he has a very big day ahead of him on Monday.
“Yeah, I don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow,” said Smith referring to the enforced day off on Sunday. “I always think it’s hard to back up a really good round, so maybe the day off will help me out. I’ve never been in this situation tomorrow.
“Probably just a little bit of a rest. A round like this usually takes it out of you a little bit, the adrenaline, the highs and the lows. Sleep in. Maybe a little bit of gym and come out Monday firing.”
When asked if perhaps a haircut was a possibility Smith responded; “No. It’s like my good luck charm. I can’t cut it off at the minute. Maybe a couple bad months of golf, it will come off, but until then, it’s staying.”
Rahm’s final six holes included a double bogey and a bogey but there were also three birdies over the final nine to allow him to finish the day in a share of the lead. He, too, missed a very makeable 12-footer at the last which would have given him the lead outright but it was not to be and the pair find themselves one ahead of South African Erik Van Rooyen and two ahead of Justin Thomas and Tony Finau.
Cam Davis in 40th place and Marc Leishman 50th were the only other Australians to make the cut although both are assured of advancing to the BMW Championship in Maryland next week where the leading 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings remain alive to pursue the riches of the Playoff’s later stages.