Date: April 30, 2017
Author: Martin Blake

Smith on verge of huge win

Australia's Cameron Smith is on the verge of a breakthrough win on the United States PGA Tour.

The 23-year-old Smith, from Brisbane, holds the lead with his playing partner, Jonas Blixt of Sweden, through three rounds of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in Louisiana.

Smith rolled in a long birdie putt at the final hole today to extend their lead from three shots to four at 19-under.

They carded a 68 in foursomes format today after 67 and 62 on the opening two days.

They made two birdies on the front nine, two on the back side, and no bogeys for the day.

The players will have 18 holes of four-ball format tomorrow to finish.

Smith's previous best finish on tour is his fourth place in the 2015 US Open.

Smith and Blixt were brought together this week by their shared management company, and they have teamed brilliantly. 'I have a team mate I can trust. I know he’s going to get up-and-down if I miss it,” Blixt said. Smith was equally praising. “It’s good to have a good mate by my side,'' he said.

A win would give him a two-year exemption to play on the US Tour and a start in some of the majors, but will not impact his world ranking, currently 112th, because it is a team format.

A former Australian amateur champion, Smith emerged from the elite amateur programs of Golf Queensland and Golf Australia, representing his country numerous times before turning professional and joining the Asian Tour in 2014.

He was runner-up in the Emirates Australian Open at Royal Sydney last year, reaching a playoff with Jordan Spieth and Ash Hall.

Smith and Blixt's closest competitors at TPC Louisiana are Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown of the USA, and Charlie Hoffman and Nick Watney, also at 15-under.

Australia's Geoff Ogilvy and England's Ian Poulter are tied-15th at 10-under, while first-round leaders Ryan Ruffels of Australia and American Kyle Stanley dropped out of contention with a third-round 77.