14 Aug 2023 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Triple treat weekend in US

by Martin Blake

Aussie winners image
Gabi Ruffels and Cam Smith win big, while Cam Davis is alive in the US Tour playoffs

Wins for Gabriela Ruffels and Cameron Smith and his Rippers GC team and a massive top-10 for Cam Davis in Memphis amounted to a huge weekend for Australian golfers overseas.

Smith dominated the LIV Bedminster event, shooting three rounds in the 60s, winning by a whopping seven shots to jump to the top of the LIV standings.

It is his second LIV win this season and his third overall and he overtakes Talor Gooch at the top of the standings.

Ripper GC's victory in the teams event was their first since the inception of LIV for the all-Aussie outfit of Smith, Marc Leishman, Matt Jones and Jed Morgan.

“I think collectively as a team we’ve all been trying to just work a little bit harder the last couple of months,” Smith said.

“Not really do anything different, just put our heads down, and you can see it kind of flourishing there a little bit.”

In Memphis, the 28-year-old Sydneysider Davis continued his late-season surge on the PGA TOUR with a tied-sixth finish at the Fedex St Jude Championship, the first of the tour’s playoff series.

Davis closed with a 67 to finish just four shots out of a playoff won by Lucas Glover, who secured his second consecutive win by pipping Patrick Cantlay.

Although he had tried not to focus on the playoffs, he has done enough to play himself into the BMW Championship in Chicago this week, worth $US 20 million.

Davis had begun the week in 62nd spot on the Fedex Cup standings, needing to jump into the top 50 to extend his 2022-23 season on the US Tour.

As of today, he has leapt to No. 45, although he needs to take that ranking into the top 30 to continue on to the Tour Championship in Atlanta later this month.

Jason Day finished tied-52nd in Memphis but he has also qualified for the BMW Championship, now ranked 21st overall.

Davis admitted to feeling some stress, but he was delighted to roll into the penultimate tournament of the playoffs this week.

“I've turned a really kind of up-and-down year into a pretty positive year just out of three really good weeks in a row,” said Davis, who has logged three consecutive top-10s.

“I was doing my best. I mean, I had a rough sort of estimate of where I felt like I needed to finish based on little things that I had seen throughout the day, but I wanted one more birdie, but it looks like I didn't need it. That was a nice stressful but at the same time well played sort of day for me.”

Ruffels’ dominant victory in the Epson Tour’s Four Winds International in Indiana continued a sensational 2023 for the Melburnian, who now is secure in the knowledge that she will be a full LPGA Tour member in 2024.

The Golf Australia Rookie Squad member won by three shots, her third victory of 2023, and now she cannot be pushed out of the top 10 on the secondary tour who will graduate to the main tour next year.

“It was kind of a weird round today,” said Ruffels.

“I started off two ahead, and then we got called off due to weather on the first green. I had like a four-foot birdie putt that I had to sit and think about. Then I made my first bogey of the week at number two, so I got a little unsettled there.

“Other than that, I played pretty steady golf coming in, so I was pretty happy.”

Ruffels’ victory made up somewhat for a slightly disappointing finish for the Australians at the AIG Women’s Open, the fifth and final major of the women’s season, in the UK where Grace Kim (tied-36th) had the best result. Results

PGA TOUR Fedex St Jude Championship Sedgefield Country Club, North Carolina • 1 Lucas Glover 66-64-66-69 – 265 $US 3,600,000 *playoff • T6 Cam Davis 66-67-69-67 – 269 $584,285 • T52 Jason Day 68-72-72-66 – 278 $46,400 LPGA Tour AIG Women’s Open, Walton Heath, UK • 1 Lilia Vu 72-68-67-67 – 274 $US1,350,000 • T36 Grace Kim 71-72-74-73 – 290 $49,487 • T50 Minjee Lee 72-69-75-77 – 293 $26,497 • MC Stephanie Kyriacou 73-74 – 147 • MC Sarah Kemp 71-77 – 148 • MC Lydia Ko (NZ) 74-74 – 148 • MC Kelsey Bennett 73-76 – 149 • MC Hannah Green 73-76 – 149

LIV GOLF Liv Bedminster, Trump Bedminster, New Jersey • 1 Cameron Smith 66-67-68 – 201 $US4 million • T7 Marc Leishman 71-69-71 – 211 $570,000 • T27 Jed Morgan 72-78-66 – 216 $190,000 • T30 Matt Jones 77-70-70 – 217 $176,000 • 46 Danny Lee (NZ) 76-75-77 – 228 $125,000

KORN FERRY TOUR Pinnacle Bank Championship, Nebraska • 1 Alejandro Tosti 63-71-69-62 – 265 $US 180,000 • T42 Curtis Luck 73-66-67-73 – 279 $3,531 • MC Dimi Papadatos 67-73 – 140 • MC Brett Drewitt 72-71 – 143 • WD Rhein Gibson 74

EPSON TOUR Four Winds Invitational, Indiana • 1 Gabriela Ruffels 70-65-69 – 204 $US30,000 • T8 Robyn Choi 73-67-70 – 210 $4,892 • T44 Cassie Porter 68-75-74 – 217 $943 • T52 Hira Naveed 69-74-75 – 218 $806 • T55 Sarah Jane Smith 74-72-73 – 219 $699 • MC Amelia Garvey (NZ) 76-73 – 149 LET ACCESS SERIES

Big Green Egg Swedish Open, Varbergs Golf Klubb, Sweden • 1 Emily Price 67 (prize payout N/A) • T2 Stephanie Bunque 68 • T15 Munchin Keh (NZ) 71 • T41 Stefanie Hall 74 • T56 Wenyung Keh (NZ) 75 • T66 Hanee Song (NZ) 76 CHAMPIONS TOUR Boeing Classic, Washington • 1 Stephen Ames 67-67-63 – 197 $US330,000 • T3 Steven Alker (NZ) 69-66-71 – 206 $145,200 • T5 Stuart Appleby 72-71-65 – 208 $90,933 • T13 Rod Pampling 73-71-67 – 211 $39,600 • T13 Richard Green 69-70-72 – 211 $39,600 • T47 David McKenzie 76-71-70 – 217 $7,256 CHALLENGE TOUR Scottish Challenge, Aberdeenshire • 1 Sam Bairstow 70-68-66-65 – 269 €42,467 • T51 Jordan Zunic 66-72-71-73 – 282 €1,035

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