Cameron Smith wins Sentry Tournament of Champions in record setting fashion
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Cameron Smith wins Sentry Match of Champions in record-setting style

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Nobody ever completed extra below par in PGA TOUR historical past than Cameron Smith, and he by no means may respect it till his closing birdie putt Sunday within the Sentry Match of Champions.


RELATED: Full leaderboard | Winner’s Bag: Cameron Smith, Sentry Tournament of Champions


Not with Jon Rahm, the No. 1 participant on the planet, on his heels each step of the way in which. Not with Matt Jones making a pair of eagles and a 50-foot birdie putt in a span of 5 holes to remain within the sport at Kapalua.

In one of the best scoring circumstances Kapalua has seen within the 24 occasions it has hosted the winners-only begin to the brand new yr, Smith was relentless all of the day right down to the 3-foot birdie putt the Aussie made on the 18th gap for an 8-under 65 and a one-shot victory over Rahm.

“Mate, it was intense,” Smith mentioned. “It was fairly loopy. I felt like I wanted to make a birdie to type of sustain with him or keep in entrance.”

Smith, who jumped 30 spots to No. 3 within the FedExCup standings, completed at 34-under 258, and a few context is so as.

Solely three gamers in TOUR historical past had completed at 30 below or decrease. Ernie Els set the file of 31 below at Kapalua in 2003 and gained by eight pictures. Jordan Spieth shot 30 below in 2016, additionally successful by eight. Dustin Johnson shot 30 below at TPC Boston in 2020 and gained by 11.

Smith gained by one.

“Unreal spherical,” Smith mentioned. “One thing I’ll always remember.”

It was a testomony to 4 days of heat sunshine and never even sufficient win to maneuver a palm frond, with comfortable fairways from heavy rain earlier than the elite subject arrived on the western fringe of Maui, and greens that have been by no means extra pure.

Rahm by no means shot worse than 66, and he was certainly one of three gamers to tie the Plantation course file with a 61 within the third spherical. He made 32 birdies for the week, tying the PGA TOUR file for a 72-hole occasion shared by Paul Gow on the B.C. Open and Mark Calcavecchia within the Phoenix Open, each these occasions in 2001.

“I’ve each motive to be smiling,” Rahm mentioned about his rating. “It’s a bittersweet second.”

Rahm, taking part in for the primary time since Oct. 15, did all he may and Smith by no means gave him a gap. They began the ultimate spherical tied for the lead. Smith pulled forward with a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 4 and a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth.

Rahm closed inside one shot with a 15-foot birdie on the eleventh.

They matched birdies and pars on the identical holes the remainder of the way in which. Rahm closed with a 66 to complete at 33-under 259.

“This golf course solely has one protection and that’s the wind,” Rahm mentioned. “If persons are capturing between 20 and 26 below with 20-mile-an-hour winds, what do you anticipate us to do when there’s completely no wind?”

Jones tried to hitch the race, holing out for eagle on the thirteenth, making a 4-foot eagle putt on the fifteenth and holing a 50-foot birdie putt on the seventeenth. A closing birdie allowed Jones to submit the third rating of 61 — Justin Thomas additionally tied the file on Saturday — to complete third.

Jones was at 32-under 260, one shot higher than the earlier file, two pictures in need of successful.

“In case you informed me I’d have shot 32 below I’d have been more than pleased to take a seat within the clubhouse and let everybody play and see what occurs,” Jones mentioned.

Smith picked up his fourth PGA TOUR victory — two have been staff titles in New Orleans — and have become the sixth participant to have gained at each Hawaii stops on the PGA TOUR. He gained the Sony Open in Honolulu two years in the past in a playoff.

He additionally moved to No. 10 on the planet, his highest rating, and certainly one of his targets for the yr that he ticked off within the first week.

Rahm simply saved his No. 1 rating and did little incorrect in his return from the longest break of his skilled profession. He had a 20-foot birdie putt to tie for the lead on the seventeenth, his final good likelihood to catch Smith, that narrowly missed.

On the par-5 closing gap, Smith got here up simply in need of the inexperienced. His putt from 90 toes slowed to a cease about 3 toes from the outlet. That meant Rahm had no selection however to gap a 50-foot eagle putt from simply off the inexperienced, and it simply missed on the excessive facet.

The earlier file for low rating to par with out successful was Bryson DeChambeau, who completed at 27 below within the BMW Championship at Caves Valley final yr and misplaced to Patrick Cantlay in a playoff.

Cantlay, taking part in for the primary time because the Ryder Cup, closed with a 67 to complete at 26-under par. That was solely good for fourth place this week.

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