Thursday 18 January 2018

Smith refuses to cough up victory despite heckler taunts

Smith: “I tried to just play it off and then as I was coming into the ball, he coughed and sneezed.” Photo: Getty Images
Smith: “I tried to just play it off and then as I was coming into the ball, he coughed and sneezed.” Photo: Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Local boy Cameron Smith overcame the unwanted attention of a 72nd-hole heckler before going on to win the Australian PGA Championship at the second extra hole.

Three behind Jordan Zunic overnight, the young Queenslander (24) was a shot clear of his compatriot playing the 18th at RACV Royal Pines Resort when a heckler tried to put him off with fake coughs and sneezes as he stood over his approach.

"He just said a few nasty things telling me not to choke," said Smith, who won the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic of New Orleans in partnership with Swede Jonas Blixt last May. "I tried to just play it off and then as I was coming into the ball, he coughed and sneezed."

The heckler was ejected by security, but Smith bogeyed the hole, carding a 68 to Zunic's 71 to leave them tied on 18-under par.

Smith got up and down for par on the 18th on the first extra hole to stay alive, then did it again on his third trip down the hole a few minutes later, draining a four-footer for a winning par.

Adam Bland finished just a shot outside the play-off at 17-under, three clear of world No 13 Marc Leishman and David Bransdon.

disappointing Masters Champion Sergio Garcia shot a disappointing 74 to finish tied 24th in an event co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia

A play-off was also needed to decide the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open - tri-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour, the European Tour and the Asian Tour - with South African Dylan Frittelli (27) beating India's Arjun Atwal with a birdie at the first extra hole.

Frittelli, who was named the 2017 European Tour Graduate of the Year after finishing 19th in the Race to Dubai, closed with a 67 in tough conditions at Heritage Golf Club to match Atwal on 16-under.

Atwal (44), who began the week with a sparkling 62, lipped out for eagle on the final green before settling for birdie and a closing 68.

In the US. Jordanstown's Stephanie Meadow brought a miserable 2017 campaign to an end on Saturday when she missed the 72-hole cut at the Final stage of the LPGA Qualifying School in Florida.

Her six-over total of 294 was two strokes outside the top 70 and ties who progressed to the final round.

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