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Cameron Smith wins Australian PGA Championship in thrilling play-off over Zunic

Dec 03, 2017
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Updated December 03, 2017 15:01:35

Cameron Smith has won the Australian PGA Championship in a tense play-off over two extra holes against Jordan Zunic.

The pair were locked at 18-under through 72 holes at Royal Pines, with Smith missing a two-metre putt on the last that would have given him a five-under round and clinched the title.

Both men parred the first extra hole, before a superb up and down from Smith gave him the advantage the second time they played the 18th on Sunday.

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Zunic’s 3-metre par putt lipped out, leaving Smith a putt from inside two metres for the Joe Kirkwood Cup.

It was a frustrating end to a superb four days for Zunic, who missed the two-year European Tour exemption that comes with the winner’s cheque of nearly $240,000.

Queenslander Smith, who won on the US PGA Tour this year, overcame drama when a heckler was removed from the course.

The man had been continually disrupting Smith on the closing holes, forcing the world No.86 to walk away from his approach to the 18th in regulation play.

He bogeyed that hole, which forced the third play-off in the last four years on the Gold Coast, but remained composed to win his first Australian championship.

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The wins comes after a fourth place at last week’s Australian Open in Sydney and victory at the Zurich Classic teams event on the rich US PGA tour in May alongside Swede Jonas Blixt.

South Australian Adam Bland made a late charge to finish one shot off the pace, while Marc Leishman birdied four of five holes at one stage to finish tied fourth at 14 under.

It was a back and forth between Zunic and Smith for the title on the final day, though, the pair trading shots on the front nine and drawing level on the 10th after Zunic had started with a three-shot lead.

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Things looked dire for 24-year-old Smith on the eighth when he found water with his tee shot.

A pinpoint approach hit the flag stick and left Smith with a sloping 10-metre putt for par.

But Smith drained it to stay in touch and walk off the green with a wry smile and shrug of the shoulders, before collecting birdies on the next two holes to grab a share of the lead.

AAP

Topics: golf, sport, benowa-4217, qld, australia

First posted December 03, 2017 14:46:03

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