Smith-Blixt win new-look Zurich

First team event on the PGA Tour since 1981

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - BRETT MARTEL

AVONDALE, LA. — The team of Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt won the Zurich Clas­sic on the fourth play­off hole Mon­day, cap­tur­ing a new-for­mat tour­na­ment that had been held over a day be­cause of dark­ness.

Smith hit a 58-yard ap­proach shot within 3½ cou­ple feet of the pin and the Aussie sank a birdie putt on the par-5 18th hole to give him­self and his Swedish team­mate the vic­tory. Smith and Blixt could have won on ear­lier play­off holes but missed short birdie putts.

For the 23-year-old Smith, this was his first PGA Tour vic­tory.

Kevin Kis­ner and Scott Brown had com­bined for a 12-un­der 60 Sun­day to force the play­off. Kis­ner made a chip-in from nearly 95 feet on No. 18, but dark­ness pre­vented fur­ther play.

Blixt and Smith led by a stroke af­ter two rounds and by four af­ter three. They had fallen be­hind by two strokes, with Kis­ner and Brown birdieing 10 of their first 11 holes Sun­day. But they ral­lied with birdies on Nos. 12, 15 and 16 to re­gain a one-stroke lead head­ing into the fi­nal hole of reg­u­la­tion, which they wound up hav­ing to birdie to force the play­off af­ter Kis­ner’s clutch chip.

Both teams fin­ished four rounds at 27 un­der par at the par-72 TPC Louisiana in sub­ur­ban New Or­leans.

Each player on the win­ning team earned $1.02 mil­lion and 400 FedExCup points.

This is the first team event on the PGA Tour since the Walt Dis­ney World Na­tional Team Cham­pi­onship in 1981.

The tour­na­ment be­gan with 80 twoplayer teams, with play­ers choos­ing their team­mates. Many said they chose friends on the Tour rather than re­search whose game best com­ple­mented their own. It made for a re­laxed en­vi­ron­ment, the ca­ma­raderie show­ing golf ’s looser side. The new for­mat at­tracted half of the top 30-ranked play­ers.

The play­ers on each team al­ter­nated shots in the first and third rounds. In the sec­ond and fi­nal rounds, each player hit his own balls and each team took the best score per hole. The play­off was held in the same for­mat as the fi­nal round.

Kelly Kraft and Kevin Tway fin­ished third at 23 un­der Sun­day. Jor­dan Spi­eth and Ryan Palmer were fourth. Six teams tied for fifth, in­clud­ing the pairs of Ja­son Duffner-Pat­ton Kizzire and Bubba Wat­son-J.B. Holmes.

A cou­ple of favoured teams missed the cut — Ja­son Day and Rickie Fowler, and Masters run­ner-up Justin Rose and Hen­rik Sten­son.

GER­ALD HER­BERT, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Jonas Blixt of Swe­den, right, hugs team­mate Cameron Smith of Aus­tralia af­ter Smith sank his birdie putt on the 18th green to win a sud­den-death play­off for the PGA Zurich Clas­sic ti­tle Mon­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.