An emotional Cam Smith fought back tears after revealing how his grandmother’s chemotherapy battle had inspired him to his third Australian PGA title.
Smith choked up and momentarily fell silent at the presentation of his three-shot win at Royal Queensland when he revealed how his grandmother Carol’s courage had driven him to his fifth win of the year.
“A special mention to my nan,’’ Smith said at the presentation before falling silent for several seconds before continuing with a quivering voice.
“We had some good news the other day after she had two rounds of chemotherapy and ended up walking 18 holes all four days.’’
The news brought a stirring round of applause and Smith explained later that his grandmother’s plight and the fact that Sunday was his father Des’ birthday were twin inspirations for his robust victory.
“I can’t believe she did it,” Smith said.
“Everyone at the start of the week was telling her to pace herself, and she was out there all day every day, so it was pretty amazing, and definitely inspiring.
“It was also my dad’s birthday today so after I got back to a tie for the lead there after (hole) 11, I really wanted to do it for those two.”
Smith clinched the title after surviving a mid-round scare and two inclement weather delays on a stormy Sunday.
The event’s star billing, world No.3 and proud Queenslander Smith lived up to the hype to finish at 14-under, three strokes ahead of fellow Australian Jason Scrivener and Japan’s Ryo Hisatsune.
Smith’s final round of three-under 68 included four birdies and a bogey on the par-three 11th that dropped him back level with Scrivener (67) and Hisatsune (65).
However, the reigning British Open champion then lifted with successive birdies on the 12th and 13th hole to re-establish his dominance
Mixed in were two delays – one for surrounding lightning and the other for heavy rain – that threatened to push the tournament’s finish back to Monday.
However, after returning to action for a second time at 4.05pm Queensland time, the remaining players were able to complete their rounds, with Smith lifting the Joe Kirkwood Cup for a third time after also winning the event in 2017 and 2018 when it was played at Royal Pines.
“It’s awesome,” Smith said.
“I really didn’t think I had it in me this week. The start of the week was a little bit scratchy and the game just got better and better as the week went on, other than the front nine today.”
Smith admitted to feeling frustrated by Sunday’s two stoppages for bad weather.
“You’re in the mojo there a little bit and for it to be stopped not once but twice is a little bit frustrating but I just held on to it and played really solid those last eight holes.”
Scrivener’s brave bid for victory came to an end on the par-three 17th, better known as the ‘party hole’.
However, there were nobody cheering when Scrivener double-bogeyed the hole.
Scrivener’s fellow West Australian Min Woo Lee was the next best of the Australians, finishing at nine-under after a final-round 69.
Also finishing at nine-under was Englishman John Parry, who had a final round of 65.
David Micheluzzi was next best at eight-under after shooting 69 on Sunday/
Four players – Greg Chalmers, Cameron Davis, Sam Brazel and Takumi Kanaya – finished on seven under.
Story Credit: news.com.au