Cameron Smith won the Tournament of Champions by a single stroke over world No. 1 John Rahm with a new PGA 72-hole record low total of 34-under.
Smith was unstoppable all day, right up to his 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, which gave him an 8-under 65 and a one-shot victory on Sunday.
The new tournament record surpassed Ernie Els’ previous best of 31 under in 2003 by three strokes. Two other players, Smith, Rahm, and Matt Jones, broke Els’ record during a thrilling competition.
Smith described the round as “unreal.” “Something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
“Being a leader is not easy, especially when you have restless nights. I believe I spent a significant amount of time staring at the ceiling.
“But it was interesting to compare my skills to those of some of the finest players in the world. I’ve been putting in a lot of effort, and it’s already paying off.”
Smith made eight birdies on the day, four of which came in the closing six holes, to hold his rivals at bay.
Smith’s fourth victory on the Tour. Prior to Sunday, his most recent triumph came last spring at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, when he also won his first championship.
Rahm, who shot a 7-under 66 on Sunday, birdied his last hole to maintain the pressure on Smith, who equalled his round.
Rahm tied another PGA Tour record with 32 birdies in four rounds. He was tied with Mark Calcavecchia (2001 Phoenix Open) and Paul Gow (2001 Phoenix Open) (2001 B.C. Open).
Rahm stated, “I have every reason to smile.” “It’s a bittersweet moment,” says the narrator.
Jones had a third outstanding effort on Sunday, shooting a 12-under 61 that included two eagles and eight birdies.
Jones set a new PGA record on Saturday with a 62, which was the lowest 36-hole score ever at 23-under.
After a final-round 6-under-67, Patrick Cantlay finished fourth at 26-under.
At 25-under, three golfers tied for fifth place. On Sunday, Collin Morikawa shot a 62, Justin Thomas a 65, and Daniel Berger a 69.
Kevin Kisner shot a final-round 65 to tie for eighth place at 24-under with Sungjae Im of South Korea (final-round 69).
Cam Davis (66) and Marc Leishman (68) completed the Top 10 and finished the tournament at 23-under par.
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