Aussies Abroad | Smith catches fire late in Mexico


The malaise that has plagued Cameron Smith since his breakthrough individual win at the Sony Open has been shrugged free in the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club De Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City.

As Patrick Reed overturned a one-shot deficit to claim his second WGC title with a 4-under 67 in the final round, Smith roared up the leaderboard with a Sunday 64 matched only by Brandt Snedeker as the best of the day.

His playoff victory at Waialae Country Club in January had many predicting a breakout year for Smith on the PGA TOUR yet in the three starts since he has missed two cuts and finished tied for 64th at the Farmers Insurance Open.

It was a sluggish start too in Mexico as Smith sat 4-over through 36 holes but a 2-under 69 on Saturday was a positive indicator of what was to follow in the final round.

Draining a putt from just inside 34 feet after driving the green at the 316-yard par-4 first gave Smith the perfect platform from which to build, the eagle and birdie putts from 14, four and 18 feet sending him to the back nine 5-under on his round.

A laser-like wedge to inside five feet delivered another birdie at the par-4 10th only to hand it back at the par-5 11th with an untidy bogey, his 48-foot perfectly-weighted birdie putt at the par-3 13th the highlight of his closing six holes.

The round of 7-under 64 moved Smith up 26 spots on the leaderboard to be the pick of the Aussies in a tie for 22nd, one shot to the better of last-start winner Adam Scott and two clear of Kiwi Ryan Fox in a tie for 29th.

Playing in his first WGC event, New Zealand Open defending champion Zach Murray was inside the top 20 for much of the week but dropped to a tie for 48th with a 4-over round of 75 on the final day, a four-putt double bogey on the par-3 17th an unfortunate end to an otherwise positive week.

Like Smith, Kiwi Tim Wilkinson made up significant ground in the final round, climbing 18 spots to be tied for 20th at the PGA TOUR’s concurrent Puerto Rico Open courtesy of a 5-under 67, nine shots adrift of champion Viktor Hovland.

An eagle at the 72nd hole helped Cameron Davis continue his consistent start to 2020, tied for 27th alongside fellow Aussie Rhein Gibson.

World Golf Championships

WGC-Mexico Championship

Club De Golf Chapultepec, Mexico City, Mexico

T22         Cameron Smith 73-73-69-64—279             $US105,500

T26         Adam Scott         74-68-68-70—280             $90,000

T29         Ryan Fox              72-68-73-68—281            $73,500

T42         Marc Leishman 74-70-68-71—283            $49,500

T48         Zach Murray       71-69-69-75—284           $45,500

T58         Lucas Herbert    75-70-74-69—288           $36,500

65           Scott Hend          72-75-75-70—292           $33,750                                

PGA TOUR

Puerto Rico Open

Grand Reserve Country Club, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

T20         Tim Wilkinson    69-70-71-67—277             $US31,607

T27         Cameron Davis  69-71-69-69—278             $20,119

T27         Rhein Gibson     66-70-72-70—278             $20,119

T44         Cameron Percy 70-71-70-69—280             $9,220

T64         John Senden      70-70-73-72—285             $6,450

MC         Robert Allenby  72-75—147


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