07 Feb 2022 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Smith projected for top ten return

by PGA of Australia

Cameron Smith is projected to earn a career high world ranking this week.
Cameron Smith is projected to earn a career high world ranking this week.

By Tony Webeck

Cameron Smith is projected to reach a career high of No.9 in the Official World Golf Rankings on the back of a top-five finish at the Asian Tour’s PIF Saudi International.

Chasing a maiden Asian Tour title, Smith had to play second fiddle to fellow Australian PGA champion Harold Varner III in the final round, Varner holing an extraordinary 92-foot putt for eagle on the 72nd hole to secure a one-shot win from fellow American Bubba Watson.

Tied for second at the halfway mark, Smith fell back into the pack with an even par 70 on day three before closing with a 69 on Sunday, his frustrations on the greens continuing into the final nine holes where he had 19 putts to earn a share of fourth place.

Smith spent a week at No.10 immediately following his record-breaking win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and is set for another lift from his current status as the No.11 player in the world.

Smith’s 34 putts in the final round was his most for the week and was a continuation of his struggles to get putts to drop at crucial times.

“It was really solid. Just struggled on the greens all week,” conceded Smith, regarded as one of the best short-game exponents in the game today.

“I felt as though I was hitting good putts, and I just couldn’t get them to drop this week.

“A bit disappointing that I came pretty close, but it is what it is. It’s golf.”

Smith led home the Australian contingent that also saw Brad Kennedy (T14) and Wade Ormsby (T18) finish inside the top 20, Lucas Herbert one shot further back in a tie for 21st.

Marc Leishman was two shots further back of Herbert in a tie for 28th but produced the equal-best round of the day in the final round, making eagle twice on his front nine and needing just eight putts in his first seven holes in a round of six-under 64.

“Two eagles was nice, bogey free,” Leishman said of his impressive finish.

“I played a lot better than I have the first three days. Happy to finish off the tournament on a high.”

It wasn’t quite such a finish for Jason Day who was seeking to extend his top-20 streak at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Tied for eighth entering the final round and needing a top-14 finish to surpass $50m in career earnings, Day was even on his round following a birdie at seven but a double bogey at eight and bogey at nine sent his hopes tumbling.

Day ultimately signed for a two-over 74 and a tie for 24th, his lowest finish in the event since 2014, and was the only Aussie to make the cut.

Su Oh was the sole Australian to play all three rounds as she finished tied for 41st at the LPGA Drive On Championship while Maverick Antcliff’s tie for 27th was the best of the Aussies at the DP World Tour’s Ras al Khaimah Championship.

Results

LPGA Tour LPGA Drive On Championship Crown Colony Golf & Country Club, Fort Myers, Florida Winner Leona Maguire  66-65-67—198  $US225,000 T41        Su Oh    68-71-72—211  $6,162 MC        Katherine Kirk    72-72—144 MC        Sarah Kemp       74-71—145

PGA TOUR AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California Winner Tom Hoge          63-69-68-68—268           $US1.566m T24        Jason Day           68-66-70-74—278           $74,602 MC        Matt Jones         76-69-68—213 MC        Min Woo Lee     69-75-70—214 MC        Greg Chalmers  73-66-75—214 MC        Cameron Percy  73-70-74—217 MC        Aaron Baddeley 77-72-73—222 MC        Brett Drewitt     75-70-78—223 MC        John Senden      75-76-75—226

DP World Tour Ras al Khaimah Championship Al Hamra GC, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE Winner Nicolai Hojgaard             67-65-64-68—264           €296,728 T27        Maverick Antcliff             69-70-69-70—278           €15,272 T53        Jason Scrivener 73-68-71-71—283           €6,065 MC        Ryan Fox             71-71—142

Korn Ferry Tour Panama Championship Panama Golf Club, Panama City, Panama Winner Carson Young    68-65-71-68—272           $US135,000 T32        Harrison Endycott           69-69-73-70—281           $4,538 T56        Rhein Gibson     72-66-75-72—285           $3,113                 MC        Nick Voke           70-78—148

Asian Tour PIF Saudi International Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, Saudi Arabia Winner Harold Varner III             64-66-68-69—267           $US1m T4          Cameron Smith 66-66-70-69—271           $217,500 T14        Brad Kennedy    67-72-67-68—274           $68,500 T18        Wade Ormsby   68-67-68-73—276           $57,166 T21        Lucas Herbert    66-73-71-67—277           $52,250 T28        Marc Leishman 74-69-72-64—279           $38,100 T45        Andrew Dodt     69-71-74-67—281           $24,625 T55        Daniel Hillier      71-72-72-69—284           $17,750 T55        Louis Dobbelaar              69-72-73-70—284           $17,750 MC        Scott Hend         70-76—146 MC        Ryan Ruffels      75-71—146 MC        Jediah Morgan  74-73—147 MC        Travis Smyth      70-77—147 MC        Ben Eccles          73-77—150

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