01 Sep 2021 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: What's at stake at Tour finales

by PGA of Australia

Cameron Smith can become the first Australian to win the FedEx Cup.

By Tony Webeck

Millions of dollars and a place on the game’s greatest stage are up for grabs for seven Aussies this week as the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour seasons reach their respective climaxes.

Queenslander Cameron Smith can make history by becoming Australia’s first FedEx Cup champion at the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta while six Aussies are chasing status on the PGA Tour next season at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship in Indiana.

As he sits fifth in the FedEx Cup standings through two events of the FedEx Cup Playoffs Smith will begin the Tour Championship at 5-under par, five strokes behind BMW Championship winner Patrick Cantlay in pursuit of the $US15 million prize for first place.

If he was to finish the year in fifth position Smith would collect $US2.5m for his efforts with second to receive $US5m, third $US4m and fourth $US3m.

Runner-up at The Northern Trust, Smith’s previous best FedEx Cup finish was 12th in 2018 for which he received $US290,000.

Currently ranked No.23 in the world, the Tour Championship marks the end to Smith’s best year on the PGA Tour to date, five top-five finishes, victory alongside Marc Leishman at the Zurich Classic and $US5,851,867 in prize money that will swell significantly on Sunday.

As Smith reaches the culmination of his PGA Tour season six fellow Australians are seeking to secure their position on the main tour for the 2021-2022 season at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.

Brett Drewitt and Lucas Herbert have already guaranteed their place on the PGA Tour next season but can improve their priority ranking with a strong finish to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

Sitting in 24th position at present, West Australian Curtis Luck can likely wrap up one of the 25 PGA Tour cards given out at the completion of the finals with a top-15 finish at Victoria National Golf Club but Aaron Baddeley will need a finish towards the top 10 to move up from 31st to maintain full status next season.

In a share of 48th after two events Rhein Gibson could also extend his stay on the PGA Tour with a top-five finish, a result that might also be enough for veteran Greg Chalmers.

There are eight events still remaining on the 2021 European Tour season with four Aussies to contest this week’s DS Automobiles Italian Open and 2010 champion Daniel Gaunt has bolstered the Australian presence at this week’s Challenge Tour event, the British Challenge at The Belfry.

Although the Solheim Cup is the primary focus in the women’s game this week Stephanie Kyriacou, Whitney Hillier and Amy Walsh will take part in the Creekhouse Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour and Kristalle Blum and Victoria Fricot are in Switzerland for the LET Access Series Flumserberg Ladies Open.

Round 1 tee times

PGA Tour

Tour Championship

East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia

3.40am Cameron Smith, Justin Thomas 

Defending champion: Dustin Johnson

Past Aussie winners: Adam Scott (2006)

Top Aussie prediction: Cameron Smith

TV schedule: Live 3am-8am Friday, Saturday; Live 3am-9am Sunday; Live 2am-8am Monday on Fox Sports 503

Korn Ferry Tour

Korn Ferry Tour Championship

Victoria National Golf Club, Newburgh, Indiana

9.50pm*           Rhein Gibson, Camilo Villegas, Max Greyserman

10.50pm*         Curtis Luck, Tom Lewis, Tom Whitney

11.02pm           Brett Drewitt, Brandon Wu, Patrick Fishburn

11.38pm           Greg Chalmers, Max McGreevy, David Kocher

3.48am*           Lucas Herbert, Matthias Schwab, Scott Gutschewski

4am     Aaron Baddeley, Trey Mullinax, Satoshi Kodaira

Defending champion: Brandon Wu

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Lucas Herbert

TV schedule: Live 12am-2am Friday; Live 12am-3am Saturday on Fox Sports 507; 11.45am-1.30pm Sunday on Fox Sports 503; Live 6am-9am on Fox Sports 507

European Tour

DS Automobiles Italian Open

Marco Simone GC, Rome, Italy

4.20pm*           Min Woo Lee, Garrick Higgo, Sami Valimaki

5pm*   Scott Hend, Eddie Pepperell, Joost Luiten

5.30pm Maverick Antcliff, Gregorio De Leo, Filippo Celli

9.30pm*           Wade Ormsby, Jeff Winther, Joachim B. Hansen

Defending champion: Ross McGowan

Past Aussie winners: Greg Norman (1988), Craig Parry (1991)

Top Aussie prediction: Maverick Antcliff

TV schedule: Live 9.30pm-2.30am Thursday, Friday; Live 9.30pm-2am Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 503

Japan Golf Tour

Fujisankei Classic

Fujizakura Country Club, Yamanashi

9.15am Dylan Perry, Naoto Takayanagi, Yuki Kitagawa

9.45am Todd Sinnott, Keita Suzuki, Suzuchiyo Ishida

12.20pm*  David Bransdon, Hiroki Abe, Norihiko Furusho

12.50pm*  Scott Strange, Shohei Hasegawa, Daiki Imano

1.50pm*    Anthony Quayle, Dong-Kyu Jang, Shinichi Yokota

Defending champion: Rikuya Hoshino

Past Aussie winners: Graham Marsh (1973, 1974), Paul Sheehan (2004)

Top Aussie prediction: Anthony Quayle

Challenge Tour

British Challenge Presented by Modest! Golf Management

The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England

6.25pm Blake Windred, Deyen Lawson, Christopher Mivis

7.35pm Daniel Gaunt, Chase Hanna, Grégory Bourdy

7.45pm Josh Geary, Ben Evans, George Bloor

10.05pm Dimitrios Papadatos, Javier Sainz, Dominic Foos

11.50pm Daniel Hillier, Clément Berardo, Joshua Grenville-Wood

Defending champion: Tom Lewis (2018)

Past Aussie winners: Matthew King (2004), Daniel Gaunt (2010)

Top Aussie prediction: Dimi Papadatos

Ladies European Tour

Creekhouse Ladies Open

Kristianstad Golf Club (Åhus Ostra Cse), Sweden

5.17pm Stephanie Kyriacou, Atthaya Thitikul, Marianne Skarpnord

9.34pm Amy Walsh, Maria Palacios, Carolin Kauffmann

10.07pm Whitney Hillier, Caroline Hedwall, Aditi Ashok

Defending champion: Isabella Ramsay (2014)

Past Aussie winners: Corinne Dibnah (1986)

Top Aussie prediction: Stephanie Kyriacou

LET Access Series

Flumserberg Ladies Open

Gams-Werdenberg Golf Club, Gams, Switzerland

8.12pm Kristalle Blum, Tomoko Yokoyama, Aada Rissanen

8.56pm Victoria Fricot, Alexandra Bonetti, Erika De Martini

Defending champion: Sanna Nuutinen

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Kristalle Blum

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