Cameron Smith, an exhausted golfer, fought back tears while he thanked his grandmother who helped him reach the final push for the Australian PGA Championship. This was a magnificent homecoming.
After being twice pushed off the course by lightning strikes, the Brisbane favourite won the fifth title for 2022. It was only three shots shy of his record.
The world No.3 was playing in Australia for the first-time in three years. Thousands of his adoring fans followed his every move over four days.
Open Championship winner said there were doubts that he had the energy to increase his 2017 and 2018 titles.
He found his inspiration in his grandmother Carol who just completed a second round, and walked the 72 holes with him.
Smith stated, I cant believe that she did it; everyone was telling she to pace herself, but she was out there every day, all day, and added that it was also his father Des’s birthday.
Pretty amazing, inspiring, and I dont understand how she did it. After a bogey at the 11th hole, I was tied and wanted to get back there for those two.
Smith (68), 65, 69 & 68 finished 14-under, three ahead Jason Scrivener & Ryo Hisatsune. England’s John Parry tied for fourth with Min Woo Lee at eight over, and David Micheluzzi (eight below) was outright sixth.
It follows his triumph at St Andrews, as well as his two wins on the US PGA Tour earlier this year and one in Chicago after he defected to the LIV Tour.
Smith is aiming for a maiden Australian Open title, and will be playing in Melbourne starting on Thursday.
Smith accepted the keys to the city, a second Greg Norman Medal, and played a round with Cameron Smith, his NRL idol.
He was the youngest Kirkwood Cup winner and finished it in a maroon shirt.
He said, It has been awesome; everyone has received an outstanding reception and then the guys that I look up to on footy field are asking for me for a beer…its pretty cool.
Scrivener led after 2 rounds, but Smith was seven shots ahead late Saturday before Smith rallied.
When they resumed play, Smiths bogey brought him back to level with Scrivener. He also had the Japanese talent. This forced him into his arsenal of tricks.
He first flopped a wedge out of scratchy rough over a tree to make birdie.
He then hit a six metre birdie putt on 13th, and sealed the deal with another on 16th to add to his 2017- and 2018 titles at the Gold Coasts Royal Pines.
Scrivener birdied his 15th to be back within a shot. But he knew that his hopes of a first championship since 2017 were over when he saw the putt on the 17th bounce off the green and into a corner of a bunker.