Sunday, 03 December 2017
Day Four Highlights - Australian PGA Championship

Cameron Smith overcame Jordan Zunic in a play-off after a dramatic final round to claim his first European Tour title at the Australian PGA Championship.

The Queensland native entered the final day three shots off the lead held by fellow Australian Zunic and he still trailed by one at the turn on a tense day of nip and tuck at RACV Royal Pines Resort.

A Zunic bogey on the tenth had Smith in a share of the lead and he led on his own after a birdie on the 17th but a missed five-footer on the last sent the contest back to the 18th tee.

Smith needed a smart up-and-down from over the back of the first extra green to stay in the contest, and with Zunic bogeying the last at the second time of asking after finding sand off the tee, Smith got up and down again for victory.

Adam Bland finished just a shot outside the play-off at 17 under, three clear of two more Australians in David Bransdon and Marc Leishman.

Defending champion Harold Varner III was then six shots off the lead.

For Smith, victory comes in just his 11th European Tour event and hands Australia a clean sweep in the early stages of the 2018 Race to Dubai following Wade Ormsby's win at the UBS Hong Kong Open last week.

"Neither my mum or dad were there for the (PGA Tour) win in New Orleans," he said. "To be able to win in front of them and in front of other family and friends, and then winning in Queensland, makes it so much more special to me.

"I haven't even had time to process that but it's been a really good year. My goals this year were to win one down here and it's nice to tick that one off.

“A bit of a grind out there today, waking up early to get away from this rain that mysteriously hasn't come. Yeah, tough day out there and congrats to Jordan as well, he played well."

My goals this year were to win one down here and it's nice to tick that one off - Cameron Smith

Zunic had the chance to shoot a 59 on Saturday before finishing his round bogey, double-bogey and his poor run continued as he dropped a shot on the first.

Bland picked up a birdie from five feet on the same hole to sit just two off the lead and when Smith three-putted the par three second, the 35 year old was alone as Zunic's nearest challenger.

Smith bounced back with a birdie as he nearly holed out for eagle on the par five next but Zunic also took advantage for the third day in a row and the lead was back to three.

Both of the leading duo then birdied the fourth with Smith following Zunic in after he holed an 18-foot left-to-righter down the hill.

When they put their tee-shots on the sixth within ten feet for another pair of birdies, it was looking like a two-horse race with Bland making five pars in a row.

A Bland birdie on the seventh kept him within touching distance but Smith also made a gain from five feet to cut the lead to two.

Bland made it two birdies in a row on the eighth to get to 16 under but Smith produced the fireworks, driving into the water then hitting the pin and seeing his ball bounce a long way from the flag before draining the monster putt for par.

He then birdied the ninth for the fourth day in a row to cut the gap to one shot and when Zunic bogeyed the tenth, we were tied at the top.

Smith bogeyed the 12th and birdied the 13th from 12 feet but Bland was not going away and after dropping a shot on the tenth, he birdied the 15th from eight feet and holed one from over the ridge on the next to sit just a shot off the lead.

Smith was unsighted by the trees after his tee-shot on the 17th but he played a towering approach into ten feet and holed a right-to-lefter to take a one-shot lead up the last before the late drama unfolded.

We dream to play these sort of events and play in front of huge crowds, I loved every minute of it - Jordan Zunic

"I'm pretty happy with everything this week," said Zunic. "I've come a long way from where I was last week and missing a few cuts, so I'm happy about that.

"It's always great. This is why we practise and this is why we dream to play these sort of events and play in front of huge crowds, I loved every minute of it.

"I had my family in the crowd there and Olivia by my side there, my girlfriend caddying. She was great, she helped me out through the whole way. You know, we did everything we could so that's all I could do. Cam was just too good on the back."

Bransdon and Leishman both signed for closing rounds of 68, with the United States' Varner carding a 66.

American Sean Crocker and Australian Lucas Herbert finished the week at 11 under, a shot clear of Ormsby and Englishman Nathan Kimsey.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1SMITH, CameronAUS18-18
2ZUNIC, JordanAUS18-18
3BLAND, AdamAUS18-17
T4BRANSDON, DavidAUS18-14
T4LEISHMAN, MarcAUS18-14
6VARNER III, HaroldUSA18-12

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