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.
Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina
United States 17.5 def International 12.5
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Golf Saint Apollinaire, Folgensbourg, France
Winner Daniel Hillier (NZ) 68-70-72-64—274 €40,000
MC Blake Windred 76-73—149
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