• Aussies on Tour: Smyth triumphs while Ruffels closes in on LPGA card

By Tony Webeck

South Coaster Travis Smyth has marked himself as a player to watch this summer following his breakthrough win as a professional at the Asian Tour’s Yeangder TPC in Chinese Taipei.

The 2017 Northern Territory PGA Championship winner as an amateur, Smyth carded matching weekend rounds of six-under 66 for a two-stroke victory from defending champion and local favourite Lee Chieh-po.

Runner-up earlier this year at the International Series England, Smyth has had four top-10 finishes in the pro ranks and will now have his eyes set firmly on taking it to the established stars of Australian golf during the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia season.

A member of the Golf Australia Rookie Squad, Smyth started the final round with a one-shot lead, effectively putting the result beyond doubt with birdie at four of his first six holes.

The trophy engraver went to work following three birdies in a row from the 10th hole, a shock double bogey at the 15th his only dropped shots of the day.

“I played awesome this week, right from the first round,” Smyth added.

“There was a moment on the front nine where I just felt that something was different about the week.

“I said to myself then, I feel like I can win.

“What a journey. I’m so proud.”

Kiwi Daniel Hillier picked up his second win on the Challenge Tour in Europe while fellow New Zealander Steven Alker came up agonisingly short on the Champions Tour.

Four shots from the lead entering the final round of the Swiss Challenge, Hillier carded 10 birdies and two bogeys in a round of eight-under 64 to reach 14-under, two shots clear of overnight leader Jeong weon Ko who finished second.

The 24-year-old, who won the 2021 Challenge Costa Brava, came into the week with just one top 10 in his last seven Challenge Tour starts but has now moved to 13th on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, taking a huge step towards securing his DP World Tour card for 2023.

“That was pretty unbelievable,” Hillier said.

“I hit some of the best wedge shots I’ve hit in a long time and gave myself a lot of really good chances. I holed a couple of clutch putts to keep the momentum going and then managed to birdie five of my last six holes.

“It was a crazy day and I felt like I was in autopilot. To be able to hole those putts under pressure just shows I am doing some of the right things and now I just need to keep my head down and hope the wins keep coming.

“This is massive for me being towards the end of the season. I’ve moved inside the top 20 and now I’m in a strong position to get my DP World Tour card for next season.

“The job’s not done yet so I need to play as well as I can for the final few events.”

Chasing his fourth win of the season, Alker led by one stroke with two holes to play but made bogey at Pebble’s demanding par-3 17th.

Tied with Ernie Els and Steve Flesch playing the iconic 18th hole, Alker could only make par as Flesch picked up the birdie that would earn him the title, Aussies Rod Pampling finishing eighth and 11th respectively.

Victorian Gabriela Ruffels moved to within one spot of a LPGA Tour card with a top-10 finish at the Epson Tour’s Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout.

Ruffels had eight birdies in her final round of five-under 67 to climb into a tie for eighth, moving up two spots to 11th in the Race to the Card standings with just two events left in the season.

“It was nice to finally get some putts to drop this week,” said Ruffels.

“When you’re on a birdie run, and everything’s feeling good, it just kind of happens. That’s exactly how it was today, and if I could keep doing that, it would be good.”

Brad Kennedy recorded his fifth top-10 finish of the Japan Golf Tour season with a tie for seventh at the Panasonic Open and Stephanie Kyriacou and Karis Davidson were the best of the Aussies at the LPGA Tour’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, both finishing tied for 39th.


Presidents Cup
Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina
United States 17.5 def International 12.5

Sunday Singles
Si Woo Kim def Justin Thomas 1 up
Jordan Spieth def Cam Davis 4&3
Hideki Matsuyama halved Sam Burns
Patrick Cantlay def Adam Scott 3&2
Sebastián Muñoz def Scottie Scheffler 2&1
Tony Finau def Taylor Pendrith 3&1
Xander Schauffele def Corey Conners 1 up
Sungjae Im def Cameron Young 1 up
KH Lee def Billy Horschel 3&1
Max Homa def Tom Kim 1 up
Collin Morikawa def Mito Pereira 3&2
Christiaan Bezuidenhout def Kevin Kisner 2&1

Saturday Fourballs
Si Woo Kim/Tom Kim def Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele 1 up
Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth def Hideki Matsuyama/Taylor Pendrith 4&3
Sungjae Im/Sebastián Muñoz def Tony Finau/Kevin Kisner 3 &2
Adam Scott/Cam Davis def Billy Horschel/Sam Burns 1 up

Saturday Foursomes
Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas def Sungjae Im/Corey Conners 4&3
Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama def Cameron Young/Collin Morikawa 3&2
KH Lee/Tom Kim def Scottie Scheffler/Sam Burns 2&1
Tony Finau/Max Homa def Si Woo Kim/Cam Davis 4&3

Friday Fourballs
Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas def Adam Scott/Cam Davis 2&1
Sungjae Im/Sebastián Muñoz halved Scottie Scheffler/Sam Burns
Mito Pereira/Christiaan Bezuidenhout halved Kevin Kisner/Cameron Young
Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele def Hideki Matsuyama/Tom Kim 3&2
Billy Horschel/Max Homa def Corey Conners/Taylor Pendrith 1 up

Thursday Foursomes
Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele def Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama 6&5
Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas def Sungjae Im/Corey Conners 2&1
Cameron Young/Collin Morikawa def Tom Kim/KH Lee 2&1
Si Woo Kim/Cam Davis def Scottie Scheffler / Sam Burns 2 up
Tony Finau/Max Homa def Taylor Pendrith/Mito Pereira 1 up

DP World Tour
Cazoo Open de France
Le Golf National, Paris, France
Winner Guido Migliozzi 69-71-66-62—268           €510,000
T60        Scott Hend         71-70-74-71—286           €9,300
MC        Zach Murray      73-76—149
MC        Maverick Antcliff             75-76—151
MC        Ryan Fox             72-73—145

Champions Tour
Pure Insurance Championship
Pebble Beach Golf Links, Monterey Peninsula, California
Winner Steve Flesch       66-71-68—205
T2          Steven Alker (NZ)            68-69-69—206
T8          Rod Pampling    69-70-69—208
11          Mark Hensby     71-73-66—210
T41        John Senden      73-73-71—217
T49        Stuart Appleby  74-71-74—219
52          Robert Allenby  74-73-73—220
MC        David McKenzie 76-74—150

Japan Golf Tour
Panasonic Open
Ono Toyo Golf Club, Hyogo
Winner Taika Sumikawa (a)         71-68-61-66—266           ——-
T7          Brad Kennedy    69-68-65-70—272           ¥3,316,666
T16        Michael Hendry (NZ)      68-70-68-69—275           ¥1,437,142
T26        Anthony Quayle              69-70-70-68—277           ¥761,250
T26        Andrew Evans   69-69-74-65—277           ¥761,250
T34        Adam Bland       69-67-69-73—278           ¥540,000
66          Brendan Jones  73-68-70-73—284           ¥223,000
MC        Matthew Griffin              81-67—148

Asian Tour
Yeangder TPC
Linkou International Golf and Country Club, Chinese Taipei
Winner Travis Smyth      68-69-66-66—269           $US126,000
T14        Daniel Fox          69-70-71-68—278           $9,485
T18        Kevin Yuan         70-70-70-69—279           $7,988.75
T49        Jake Higginbottom          70-70-76-71—287           $3,150
T54        Scott Strange     73-70-76-69—288           $2,485
T67        Ben Eccles          72-69-75-75—291           $1,680
T74        Jack Munro        72-72-76-73—293           $1,225
MC        Sam Brazel         71-74—145
MC        Cory Crawford  75-72—147
MC        George Worrall 71-76—147

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers, Arkansas
Winner Atthaya Thitikul 67-61-68—196  $US345,000
T5          Lydia Ko (NZ)     67-66-67—200  $63,355
T39        Stephanie Kyriacou         68-70-68—206  $11,265
T39        Karis Davidson  69-66-71—206  $11,265
MC        Minjee Lee         71-69—140
MC        Sarah Kemp       71-71—142
MC        Su Oh    74-70—144

Challenge Tour
Swiss Challenge
Golf Saint Apollinaire, Folgensbourg, France
Winner Daniel Hillier (NZ)            68-70-72-64—274           €40,000
MC        Blake Windred  76-73—149

Epson Tour
Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout
Mystic Creek Golf Club, El Dorado, Arkansas
Winner Britney Yada      69-71-65—205  $US33,750
T8          Gabriela Ruffels 70-74-67—211  $5,439
T20        Grace Kim           68-74-73—215  $2,848
T22        Robyn Choi        71-77-68—216  $2,615
T35        Amelia Garvey (NZ)         71-77-71—219  $1,562
MC        Sarah Jane Smith             82-72—154
MC        Soo Jin Lee         78-77—155
MC        Emily Mahar      79-78—157
MC        Hira Naveed       79-85—164

Ladies European Tour
KPMG Women’s Irish Open
Dromoland Castle, Ireland
Winner Klara Spilkova    66-68-73-67—274           €60,000
MC        Whitney Hillier  73-74—147

Subscribe to WPGA Tour Newsletter