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
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
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