Cameron Smith – photo Bruce Young
He might have missed out on a piece of Australian golfing history a few weeks ago, when trying for three Australian PGA Championships in succession, but today, Queenslander, Cameron Smith, created some of his own golfing history when winning his first individual title on the PGA Tour.
Cameron Smith won the Sony Open with a playoff victory at the first extra hole over American Brendan Steele at the Sony Open in Honolulu.
The victory was made even sweeter given, that through two holes on Thursday, Smith was 4 over par after a bogey, triple bogey to start his week.
In damp and windy conditions on the final day, Smith began the final round three shots behind Steele, the margin reduced to just one when Smith birdied the first hole and Steele bogeyed the 2nd.
By the time the pair had reached the 17th tee, however, Steele was two ahead but a missed green at the par three led to a bogey and he stood on the 18th tee just one ahead of Smith, Webb Simpson and Ryan Palmer who were playing in the group ahead.
When Palmer lost a ball at the last and dropped a shot and Simpson was unable to birdie the par five, the stage was left to Smith and Steele to determine the winner.
Both found the fairway from the tee but with the green within reach both would miss their target, Smith finding the front left bunker and Steele pull hooking a driving iron well left of the green.
Steele secured a drop from the stands between he and the flag and pitched to 25 feet. Smith on the other hand hit a beautiful bunker shot from 30 yards to 8 feet and when Steele missed his birdie attempt Smith made no mistake and so it was into extra time.
The 10th was the hole to decide the winner and, although Smith missed the fairway, he hit a superb pitch from 110 yards to 15 feet. Steele had found the fairway but from shorter range made a mistake in judgement and flew the green.
He was unable to get up and down and so all Smith need to do was 2 putt from 15 feet which he was able to do.
Smith earns US$1.18 million for his win and moves to 31st in the world ranking, still below his previous best of 24th earlier in 2019 but a victory that will assist in his moving considerably higher given the knowledge he has that he can win on the PGA Tour.
“I didn’t feel like I played particularly well,” said Smith. “I just made the putts that I had to make, and you know, those up and downs to kind of keep the momentum going a little bit I managed to get up and down. It was a struggle all day, though. The conditions were wet and a little bit windy this morning.”
Cameron Davis made it a good week for yet another former Australian Amateur Champion when he recorded his best PGA Tour finish when sharing 9th place in the event and earning his biggest cheque in tournament golf (US$179,000)