Smith, Scott surge at FedEx St Jude Championship - PGA of Australia

Smith, Scott surge at FedEx St Jude Championship


Queensland pair Cameron Smith and Adam Scott have surged into the top 10 at the FedEx St Jude Championship but Jason Day’s PGA TOUR season has come to an end.

With the top-70 in the FedEx Cup points list to advance to the second week of the playoffs, the cut-line on Friday at TPC Southwind in Memphis brought with it additional permutations.

A clutch up-and-down at his final hole gives Cam Davis the opportunity to improve his position over the course of the weekend, a luxury Day does not have after missing the cut on the number.

Ranked 113th at the start of the tournament, Day opened with a 65 to enhance his chances of advancing but a second round of four-over 74 dropped him beneath the cut-line and effectively ended his 2021/2022 PGA TOUR season.

Second in the FedEx Cup standings at the commencement of the playoffs, Cameron Smith is certain to feature at the Tour Championship at East Lake in two weeks’ time.

Following a three-under 67 in Round 1, Smith made three birdies on his outward nine to keep pace with those at the top of the leaderboard.

He made a 17-footer for birdie at the par-3 14th and then following a bogey at 15 made eagle at the par-5 16th, hitting his second shot from 239 yards to 15 feet and holing the putt to get to eight-under.

That moved Smith from 30th to fifth on the leaderboard, now three shots back of leader JJ Spaun (67).

Although his 67 was one higher than his opening 66, Scott also made a positive move on the leaderboard.

He moved up nine places into a tie for ninth, hitting 78 per cent of greens in regulation as he seeks to improve on his current FedEx Cup position of 77th and qualify for next week’s BMW Championship.

Davis entered the week in 66th position and when he short-sided himself with his approach to the par-4 ninth his season appeared all but over.

Playing from beneath the grandstand, Davis executed an exquisite flop shot that rolled down to tap-in range, his clutch par giving him two more rounds in which to improve on his projected standing of 71st.

“I don’t want to go home just yet if there’s still golf to play,” said Davis.

“Hopefully, I get another chance over the weekend to get some good scores going and get a little bit of a run happening.

“First look (at the chip shot) was, Oh, wow, this is going to be fun. Then second thought is, Well, I need to find a way to keep this on the green or just give myself a chance that I could par.

“Knowing where I stood, I knew it was kind of a ‘go for it’ and if it doesn’t come off, then at least you gave it a try.

“I feel like I went through my routine really well, I think I prepared nicely for it, I felt like I had the feel for a shot that should work.

“Came off a little shorter than I was expecting or hoping, but it caught the little downslope on the fringe and it was nice to have a stress-free putt.”

Like Davis, Marc Leishman made the cut on the number and looks set to advance to week two of the playoffs.

As the tension builds on the PGA TOUR it is approaching fever pitch on the Korn Ferry Tour, with Sydneysider Harrison Endycott right in the thick of it.

Ten of the remaining PGA TOUR cards on offer at the end of the regular season remain up for grabs, Endycott entering the Pinnacle Bank Championship 19th in the standings.

Endycott’s mother Diane passed away from ovarian cancer when he was just 15 years old. Ten years later, his father Brian is in Nebraska to see his son hopefully fulfil his dream of playing on the PGA TOUR.

Tied for 37th with two rounds to play, Endycott is projected to finish 22nd on the points list, the emotion surrounding that reality almost too much to bear.

Gabi Ruffels and Hira Naveed are the best of the Aussies at the Epson Tour’s Four Winds Invitational, tied for 12th after opening rounds of two-under 70 and Rod Pampling has made a strong start to the defence of his Boeing Classic title on the Champions Tour.


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