26 Sep 2022 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Smyth triumphs as Kiwis cash in

by Australian Golf Media

Travis Smyth.

By Tony Webeck

South Coaster Travis Smyth has marked himself as a player to watch this summer following his breakthrough win as a professional at the Asian Tour’s Yeangder TPC in Chinese Taipei.

The 2017 Northern Territory PGA Championship winner as an amateur, Smyth carded matching weekend rounds of six-under 66 for a two-stroke victory from defending champion and local favourite Lee Chieh-po.

Runner-up earlier this year at the International Series England, Smyth has had four top-10 finishes in the pro ranks and will now have his eyes set firmly on taking it to the established stars of Australian golf during the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia season.

A member of the Golf Australia Rookie Squad, Smyth started the final round with a one-shot lead, effectively putting the result beyond doubt with birdie at four of his first six holes.

The trophy engraver went to work following three birdies in a row from the 10th hole, a shock double bogey at the 15th his only dropped shots of the day.

“I played awesome this week, right from the first round,” Smyth added.

“There was a moment on the front nine where I just felt that something was different about the week.

“I said to myself then, I feel like I can win.

“What a journey. I’m so proud.”

Smyth was not the only ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia member to triumph over the weekend.

Kiwi Daniel Hillier picked up his second win on the Challenge Tour in Europe while fellow New Zealander Steven Alker came up agonisingly short on the Champions Tour.

Four shots from the lead entering the final round of the Swiss Challenge, Hillier carded 10 birdies and two bogeys in a round of eight-under 64 to reach 14-under, two shots clear of overnight leader Jeong weon Ko who finished second.

The 24-year-old, who won the 2021 Challenge Costa Brava, came into the week with just one top 10 in his last seven Challenge Tour starts but has now moved to 13th on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, taking a huge step towards securing his DP World Tour card for 2023.

“That was pretty unbelievable,” Hillier said.

“I hit some of the best wedge shots I’ve hit in a long time and gave myself a lot of really good chances. I holed a couple of clutch putts to keep the momentum going and then managed to birdie five of my last six holes.

“It was a crazy day and I felt like I was in autopilot. To be able to hole those putts under pressure just shows I am doing some of the right things and now I just need to keep my head down and hope the wins keep coming.

“This is massive for me being towards the end of the season. I’ve moved inside the top 20 and now I’m in a strong position to get my DP World Tour card for next season.

“The job’s not done yet so I need to play as well as I can for the final few events.”

Beginning his final round birdie-eagle, Alker had to settle for a share of second at the Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach.

Chasing his fourth win of the season, Alker led by one stroke with two holes to play but made bogey at Pebble’s demanding par-3 17th.

Tied with Ernie Els and Steve Flesch playing the iconic 18th hole, Alker could only make par as Flesch picked up the birdie that would earn him the title, Aussies Rod Pampling finishing eighth and 11th respectively.

Victorian Gabriela Ruffels moved to within one spot of a LPGA Tour card with a top-10 finish at the Epson Tour’s Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout.

Ruffels had eight birdies in her final round of five-under 67 to climb into a tie for eighth, moving up two spots to 11th in the Race to the Card standings with just two events left in the season.

“It was nice to finally get some putts to drop this week,” said Ruffels.

“When you’re on a birdie run, and everything’s feeling good, it just kind of happens. That’s exactly how it was today, and if I could keep doing that, it would be good.”

Brad Kennedy recorded his fifth top-10 finish of the Japan Golf Tour season with a tie for seventh at the Panasonic Open and Stephanie Kyriacou and Karis Davidson were the best of the Aussies at the LPGA Tour’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, both finishing tied for 39th.

Results

Presidents Cup Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina United States 17.5 def International 12.5

Sunday Singles Si Woo Kim def Justin Thomas 1 up Jordan Spieth def Cam Davis 4&3 Hideki Matsuyama halved Sam Burns Patrick Cantlay def Adam Scott 3&2 Sebastián Muñoz def Scottie Scheffler 2&1 Tony Finau def Taylor Pendrith 3&1 Xander Schauffele def Corey Conners 1 up Sungjae Im def Cameron Young 1 up KH Lee def Billy Horschel 3&1 Max Homa def Tom Kim 1 up Collin Morikawa def Mito Pereira 3&2 Christiaan Bezuidenhout def Kevin Kisner 2&1

Saturday Fourballs Si Woo Kim/Tom Kim def Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele 1 up Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth def Hideki Matsuyama/Taylor Pendrith 4&3 Sungjae Im/Sebastián Muñoz def Tony Finau/Kevin Kisner 3 &2 Adam Scott/Cam Davis def Billy Horschel/Sam Burns 1 up

Saturday Foursomes Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas def Sungjae Im/Corey Conners 4&3 Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama def Cameron Young/Collin Morikawa 3&2 KH Lee/Tom Kim def Scottie Scheffler/Sam Burns 2&1 Tony Finau/Max Homa def Si Woo Kim/Cam Davis 4&3

Friday Fourballs Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas def Adam Scott/Cam Davis 2&1 Sungjae Im/Sebastián Muñoz halved Scottie Scheffler/Sam Burns Mito Pereira/Christiaan Bezuidenhout halved Kevin Kisner/Cameron Young Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele def Hideki Matsuyama/Tom Kim 3&2 Billy Horschel/Max Homa def Corey Conners/Taylor Pendrith 1 up

Thursday Foursomes Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele def Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama 6&5 Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas def Sungjae Im/Corey Conners 2&1 Cameron Young/Collin Morikawa def Tom Kim/KH Lee 2&1 Si Woo Kim/Cam Davis def Scottie Scheffler / Sam Burns 2 up Tony Finau/Max Homa def Taylor Pendrith/Mito Pereira 1 up

DP World Tour Cazoo Open de France Le Golf National, Paris, France Winner Guido Migliozzi 69-71-66-62—268           €510,000 T60        Scott Hend         71-70-74-71—286           €9,300 MC        Zach Murray      73-76—149 MC        Maverick Antcliff             75-76—151 MC        Ryan Fox             72-73—145

Champions Tour Pure Insurance Championship Pebble Beach Golf Links, Monterey Peninsula, California Winner Steve Flesch       66-71-68—205 T2          Steven Alker (NZ)            68-69-69—206 T8          Rod Pampling    69-70-69—208 11          Mark Hensby     71-73-66—210 T41        John Senden      73-73-71—217 T49        Stuart Appleby  74-71-74—219 52          Robert Allenby  74-73-73—220 MC        David McKenzie 76-74—150

Japan Golf Tour Panasonic Open Ono Toyo Golf Club, Hyogo Winner Taika Sumikawa (a)         71-68-61-66—266           ——- T7          Brad Kennedy    69-68-65-70—272           ¥3,316,666 T16        Michael Hendry (NZ)      68-70-68-69—275           ¥1,437,142 T26        Anthony Quayle              69-70-70-68—277           ¥761,250 T26        Andrew Evans   69-69-74-65—277           ¥761,250 T34        Adam Bland       69-67-69-73—278           ¥540,000 66          Brendan Jones  73-68-70-73—284           ¥223,000 MC        Matthew Griffin              81-67—148

Asian Tour Yeangder TPC Linkou International Golf and Country Club, Chinese Taipei Winner Travis Smyth      68-69-66-66—269           $US126,000 T14        Daniel Fox          69-70-71-68—278           $9,485 T18        Kevin Yuan         70-70-70-69—279           $7,988.75 T49        Jake Higginbottom          70-70-76-71—287           $3,150 T54        Scott Strange     73-70-76-69—288           $2,485 T67        Ben Eccles          72-69-75-75—291           $1,680 T74        Jack Munro        72-72-76-73—293           $1,225 MC        Sam Brazel         71-74—145 MC        Cory Crawford  75-72—147 MC        George Worrall 71-76—147

LPGA Tour Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers, Arkansas Winner Atthaya Thitikul 67-61-68—196  $US345,000 T5          Lydia Ko (NZ)     67-66-67—200  $63,355 T39        Stephanie Kyriacou         68-70-68—206  $11,265 T39        Karis Davidson  69-66-71—206  $11,265 MC        Minjee Lee         71-69—140 MC        Sarah Kemp       71-71—142 MC        Su Oh    74-70—144

Challenge Tour Swiss Challenge Golf Saint Apollinaire, Folgensbourg, France Winner Daniel Hillier (NZ)            68-70-72-64—274           €40,000 MC        Blake Windred  76-73—149

Epson Tour Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout Mystic Creek Golf Club, El Dorado, Arkansas Winner Britney Yada      69-71-65—205  $US33,750 T8          Gabriela Ruffels 70-74-67—211  $5,439 T20        Grace Kim           68-74-73—215  $2,848 T22        Robyn Choi        71-77-68—216  $2,615 T35        Amelia Garvey (NZ)         71-77-71—219  $1,562 MC        Sarah Jane Smith             82-72—154 MC        Soo Jin Lee         78-77—155 MC        Emily Mahar      79-78—157 MC        Hira Naveed       79-85—164

Ladies European Tour KPMG Women’s Irish Open Dromoland Castle, Ireland Winner Klara Spilkova    66-68-73-67—274           €60,000 MC        Whitney Hillier  73-74—147

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