Cameron Smith won the Australian PGA Championship for a third time with a three-shot victory at Royal Queensland Golf Club in Brisbane.
Smith, who was playing in his native country for the first time in three years, held an overnight three-shot lead, but was caught early on the back nine, shortly after the second of two separate suspensions due to thunderstorms, which resulted in more than two hours of play lost.
Three birdies in a five-hole stretch from the 12th saw the 29-year-old reassert his command as a closing three-under-par 68 saw him claim victory in the DP World Tour’s season-opening tournament, which is co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour of Australasia.
Australian Jason Scrivener and Japan’s Ryo Hisatsune finished in a share of second at 11 under after posting rounds of 67 and 65 respectively, while Australian Min Woo Lee was two shots further back in fourth alongside Challenge Tour Graduate John Parry.
An exhausted Smith fought back tears as he credited his grandmother for fuelling the final push to a third Australian PGA Championship and cap a magnificent homecoming. The Open Championship winner admitted there were doubts he had the energy to add to his 2017 and 2018 titles. But in his grandmother Carol, who just completed a second round of chemotherapy, walking all 72 holes beside him, he found his inspiration.
“I can’t believe she did it; everyone was telling her to pace herself but she was out there all day, every day,” Smith said, adding that it was also his father Des’s birthday. “Pretty amazing, inspiring, I don’t know how she did it. When I got back tied [after a bogey on the 11th hole] I really wanted to do it for those two.”
Smith, who joined LIV Golf almost immediately after his Open win at St Andrews, and may yet be prevented from taking part in further DP World Tour co-sanctioned events. A meeting is due to be held in London in February to determine whether the DP World Tour can follow the PGA Tour’s lead in banning LIV golfers who are also members of the DP World Tour from competing in their events.