AVONDALE, La. — Cameron Smith’s aggressiveness on the TPC Louisiana’s water-lined sixteenth hole appeared to doom his crew’s potentialities of profitable the Zurich Conventional when his 294-yard drive bounced off an embankment shut to the inexperienced and into the water.
Smith’s teammate, fellow Australian Marc Leishman, then flipped the script with a deft chip.
Leishman made birdie after a penalty fall within the robust, about 23 toes from the pin, pulling him and Smith right into a tie with the South African duo of Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel that wasn’t damaged besides the Aussie pair gained the primary playoff hole on Sunday.
“[Smith] hit a really sincere shot. It was as soon as the sincere membership and the sincere shot, sincere drifted a minute bit within the wind,” Leishman mentioned. “I was as soon as sincere concentrating on my recreation, and I was as soon as lucky adequate to be on the up slope.
“It wasn’t the toughest chip on the planet, nevertheless beneath the cases, correctly, I’ll now not mutter it was as soon as a must-operate, nevertheless it was as soon as for sure very valuable that it went in.”
Smith and Leishman ended it with a par on their 2nd time out up the par-5 18th, after Oosthuizen pushed his tee shot into the water and narrowly overlooked an 11-foot putt for par.
“Disillusioned, nevertheless I felt we executed correctly, gave ourselves tons of of alternatives,” mentioned Oosthuizen, who was as soon as looking out his first bewitch as a consequence of the 2010 British Begin. “Now we comprise a 2nd. I’ve religion subsequent time we’re going to come attend and obtain the primary. Nonetheless so a disappointing capability to fabricate enjoyment of that.
“It could per likelihood comprise lengthy gone any capability, the capability we executed in regulation.”
The Australians compelled the playoff by taking photos a 2-below 70 in alternate-shot play on the PGA Tour’s lone traditional-season crew occasion for a four-spherical 268. Oosthuizen and Schwartzel started the spherical with a one-stroke lead nevertheless shot a 71 with three pars and two bogeys.
“It was as soon as actually difficult,” mentioned Smith, whose outdated victory got here on the Sony Begin in Hawaii in 2020. “That attend 9 was as soon as brutal, nevertheless we hung in there.”
It was as soon as Smith’s third occupation victory and 2nd on the Zurich, which he gained with Jonas Blixt in 2017, the primary 12 months Distinctive Orleans’ PGA Tour dwell switched from a frail explicit individual construction to an occasion that includes 80 two-man teams. That first victory moreover got here in a playoff.
“I assume I am sincere at choosing sincere companions,” Smith mentioned. “We had any such sincere week on and off the golf path.”
It was as soon as Smith’s easiest consequence since tying for 2nd on the pandemic-delayed 2020 Masters in November. It’s moreover was as soon as his sixth excessive 10 as a consequence of probably the most authentic tour season started.
It was as soon as Leishman’s sixth occupation victory, his easiest consequence since tying for fifth on the Masters this month and his first bewitch as a consequence of the 2020 Farmers Insurance coverage Begin.
The climactic fabricate capped off a compelling duel between two teams that teed off collectively within the closing grouping and took turns holding leads that by no means grew to greater than two strokes.
Smith made birdie putts of 9 toes on the par-5 seventh and seven toes on the par-3 ninth to drag his crew even atop the leaderboard. The Aussies went in entrance on 10, when Schwartzel’s come landed within the bunker and his crew two-putted for bogey.
Smith and Leishman took a two-shot lead on the par-5 eleventh, the hold Leishman drove 307 yards into the golf inexperienced and Smith despatched the crew’s 2nd shot 265 yards to the inexperienced, environment up a birdie.
Nonetheless they gave a stroke attend on 13 when Leishman’s drive went into the TPC Louisiana’s trademark, towering, historical-hiss cypress tree that stands on my own enjoyment of a monolith within the golf inexperienced. That compelled the crew to make the most of a fall that resulted in a bogey.
The South Africans moved attend into the lead on 15, the hold Schwartzel adopted up Oosthuizen’s 205-yard come shot with a with regards to 15-foot putt for birdie, whereas Smith, whose come had fallen speedy of the inexperienced, narrowly overlooked a 13-foot putt for par.
“Nonetheless on this recreation, now we had been round extended adequate to are conscious about or not it’s now not over besides or not it’s over on the dwell,” Schwartzel mentioned. “It was as soon as a curler coaster of feelings, though.”
After the eventful sixteenth left each teams at 21 beneath, they each bogeyed the par-3 seventeenth and parred the par-5 18th to fabricate regulation at 20 beneath.
Peter Uihlein and Richy Werenski shot a 67, with six birdies and one bogey, to shoot up the leaderboard from 18th to 3rd.
Billy Horschel and historic LSU participant Sam Burns shot a 69 to tie for fourth with Brandt Snedeker-Keith Mitchell and Brendan Steele-Keegan Bradley.
Ryan Palmer and Jon Rahm, the defending champions from 2019, closed with a 70 to fabricate seventh at 17 beneath.
Smith and Leishman each earned $1.07 million for the victory — a consequence that moreover compelled Smith to handle with a promise he’d made to decrease his mullet hairstyle when he gained a event.
“I would should enlighten remorse to my woman good friend; or not it’s now not going away,” Smith mentioned. “I’ve religion enjoyment of or not it’s part of me now.”
Leishman affirmed Smith’s determination, noting that Smith “has acquired a cult following now” due to his hair.
“You’ll need to listen to the followers available in the market,” Leishman mentioned. “They’re throughout it. It’s superior.”