22 Feb 2021 | Professional golf |
Smith suffers near-miss at Riviera
by Martin Blake
Cameron Smith blazed his way into contention in the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles today but ultimately fell just short of the major prize.
The Australian was within two shots of the lead deep into the final round at Riviera Country Club on his way to a closing 67, four under par.
But two bogeys at back-nine par threes, the 14th and 16th, cost him dearly.
The Masters runner-up finished fourth overall at nine under par, three back from the playoff between Americans Max Homa and Tony Finau. Homa won the playoff at the second hole with a par, having lipped out with a birdie putt at the 72nd hole a while earlier when that would have finished it.
Even after his three-putt bogey at the 16th, Smith still had a chance and he bombed a five wood on to the green at the par-five 17th to elevate his hopes. But a poor eagle putt, leaving it a metre short from just five metres downhill, cancelled out the opportunity and he could only make par at the last.
Still the Queenslander picked up US$455,000 for his efforts and said later that his ball-striking was back to its best. "Yeah, just took a couple weeks off and knuckled down, actually did some work on my swing and it paid off this week," said Smith. "I thought I struck it probably the best I've struck it in a very long time, three, four years probably. It's nice to get back in that groove."
Matt Jones was another to push himself on to the leaderboard today before a pulled tee shot out of bounds at the par-four 12th cost him a triple bogey and sent him tumbling out of contention.
Jones closed with two birdies to finish tied-eighth, his second top-10 finish of the season.
BRETT Coletta finished tied-11th in the Korn Ferry Tour's Lecom Surfcoast Classic in Florida, having led the tournament through the first two rounds. He was four shots back from the winner, a Saturday 73 having hurt his cause.
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