Date: April 20, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Smith cashes in again

Queenslander Cameron Smith has recorded his second top-15 finish in a remarkable US PGA Tour season.

Smith, a Golf Australia rookie squad member, carved out six birdies in a four-under-par round of 67 at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina this morning to seal a T15 finish in the RBC Heritage.

Playing on a sponsor’s invitation, the 21-year-old finished at nine under, nine shots behind champion Jim Furyk who beat Kevin Kisner in a playoff.

Smith’s stellar play on the Asian Tour – six consecutive top 10s late last year — earnt him a start in the co-sanctioned CIMB Classic in Malaysia where he cashed in with a T5, the first player in six years on PGA Tour debut with a top-10 finish.

He has now parlayed that into six starts from which he has banked $366,300, giving him a great leg-up towards a Tour berth next year – and even the faint hope of a card on the big tour if he can shine at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans this week.

Both Smith and fellow rookie squad member Oliver Goss will tee up in Louisiana.

This morning’s win for Furyk came on the back of an impressive 11 birdies in 20 holes, including two in the gripping playoff with the winner on the par-three 17th.

It was the American veteran’s 17th career victory on US PGA Tour, but he roared with obvious delight and relief when he broke a 100-start winless drought dating back five years.

Though still ranked 10th in the world, the 2003 US Open champ had been winless in nine attempts while leading through 54 holes since the 2010 Tour Championship.

''I think getting excited on 17 there was a lot of pent-up frustrations,'' said Furyk, who closed with a 63.

“I was starting to feel like this game is beating me up, and the losing hurts a lot more than winning feels good.

''I think I just forgot how good it feels to win.”

Masters and Australian Open champion Jordan Spieth closed with a 70 to finish T11 at 10 under.