THE career of Aussie golfer Cameron Smith continues to soar with the 25 year old winning consecutive Australian PGA Championship trophies and cementing his place as one of our top international players.
The Queenslander became the first golfer since Robert Allenby in 2001 to hoist the Joe Kirkwood Cup back to back.
Smith began the final round at the RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast with a three shot lead over friend and compatriot Marc Leishman but things quickly went soar with his opening tee shot exposing some closing day nerves.
Two early bogeys while playing partner Leishman fired four birdies in his first eight holes saw Smith fall two behind.
The wheels could have fallen off permanently but Smith, a very composed and well rounded golfer these days, fought back to take the tile by two strokes.
Smith’s victory completes his best year in professional golf with a top five finish at the Masters, a top 5 in a WGC event and having made the 30 man FedEx Cup Tour Championship on the US PGA Tour.
In the lead up to the PGA event last week golf “scholar” Geoff Ogilvy voiced the opinion that Smith had the makings of a world top 10 player, and nothing in his performance retracted from that assessment.
“I’ve definitely improved a lot over the last year,” Smith said when asked about his continued development since winning the trophy 12 months ago.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work and I’ve just stuck to my kind of process, goals, stuff I have to do during the week, sticking to a schedule in my off weeks, which is something that I probably ?? I never did.
“So I think all that stuff, and then just getting stronger in the gym. I mean, I’m hitting the ball probably 10 metres further off the tee this year and it’s just allowed me to be a little bit more aggressive into the greens. You know, have a couple less clubs in. It’s paid off. I haven’t really done anything different, I’ve just done everything that I do better.”
Leishman was seriously disappointed at letting a great chance to win his first big Aussie event slip through his fingers.
“Yeah definitely disappointed at the moment but you’re always happy for Cam,” Leishman said.
“At the end of the day you are right I did want to win but I gave it my best and didn’t make it. Cam played good and credit to him.
“I’m probably … the disappointment’s probably a little bit more than I am happy for Cam at the moment, but no, I am happy for him, don’t get me wrong. We had a good fight out there today. I’m pretty disappointed at the moment, but obviously happy for my mate.
“In Boston a couple years ago I was leading by a couple going into the back nine and lost that, that one really hurt, but this is probably equally if not more than that. Life goes on, we’ll be all right, I’ll be fine. But yeah, pretty disappointed.”
The PGA Tour of Australasia’s Player of the Year Matthew Millar had a great chance of snatching the 2018 Order of Merit from Jake McLeod but ended up just short when he shared 3rd place with England’s Ross McGowan.