The Aussies: Smith, Leish in top 10

Cameron Smith
Cam Smith during the final round of the 2018 Masters at Augusta National.

It didn’t turn out to be Australia’s week but Cameron Smith had a brilliant finish to the Masters at Augusta National today, coming within centimetres of matching a tournament record.

Both Smith and Marc Leishman ended up in the top 10, a good result for the Aussie contingent.

Smith, the emerging 24-year-old star from Brisbane playing just his second Masters, bolted through the back nine in just 30 shots with six birdies, including four in a row from the 12th.

He hit it close again at the 18th and had a two-metre downhiller for a 29 on the back nine, which would have equalled the Augusta record for that famous stretch of holes.

But the slick putt burned the hole on the left and he signed for a 66, ultimately climbing to equal-fifth and guaranteeing that he has a spot in the Masters for next year. He finished nine-under par, six shots behind eventual winner Patrick Reed of the United States.

Augusta National automatically invites the top 12 players in its tournament to the next year’s event.

“There won’t be any stress leading into next year will there? It’ll be nice coming back,’’ said Smith, who only qualified in the last fortnight but whose world ranking will climb nicely again this week.

Smith’s hot run with a birdie on the famous par-three 12th, but he made another on the par-five 13th to conquer Amen Corner, another at the 14th and then had a great chance for eagle after a brilliant mid-iron to the par-five 15th. He just missed that putt, but tapped in for a fourth consecutive birdie.

The Queenslander, who has previously finished fourth in a US Open, said he would take a lot from his week.

“I think I’ve always been a mature golfer. I’ve always been pretty smart on the golf course,’’ he said. “To put myself into positions where I can win more and more, it should be getting close.’’

Leishman had a bittersweet day to end a week in which he contended for three days. Having started eight shots back from the overnight leader Patrick Reed, a bogey at the first hole effectively ended any slim chance that he had of making a run for the win.

But the 34-year-old Victorian, who was second through two rounds before fading on Saturday, was not done yet. He birdied four of the last five holes today including the 18th to shoot 70 and climb into ninth place.

Jason Day closed with a 71 to finish inside the top 20.  “Much better today but overall, it was just an average week,’’ said Day.

Adam Scott shot 70 today and finished 32nd overall, a result which disappointed him.  “Nothing much exciting (was) happening for me,’’ he said. “I played just okay.”

14 September 2018
10 August 2018
03 December 2017
Queensland Golf