December 3, 2017 / 4:54 AM / in 11 days

Smith beats Zunic in Australian PGA sudden-death playoff

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Cameron Smith clinched the Australian PGA Championship title after beating Jordan Zunic on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff at Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

Smith had squandered the chance to wrap up the title in regulation by missing a putt for par on 18.

Both players parred the first playoff hole and with Zunic’s par putt at the next lipping out, Smith had a simple tap-in from about two meters to win.

”Bit of a grind out there today,“ Smith said at the trophy presentation. ”I had my chance on the 72nd but misread the putt so it’s nice to get that done.

“It has been a really good year.”

The 24-year-old had taken a one-shot lead at 19-under heading into the final hole after a birdie on 17. Smith and Zunic finished locked on 18-under 270.

Second round leader Adam Bland finished third with a 17-under 271 after signing for a 68 in the co-sanctioned Australasian and European Tour event.

Smith had started three shots behind overnight leader Zunic but stormed into contention with five birdies and a bogey on the front nine.

Zunic, who shot a course record equaling 64 on Saturday, picked up two shots on the front nine, only for Smith to charge to within a shot of the lead.

The 25-year-old Zunic then dropped a shot on the par-four 10th to fall back into a tie at 18-under.

Bland threatened when he made a birdie on 16 to get to 17-under but the lefthander’s tee shot on 17 went wide left.

Smith and Zunic attacked the pin from better positions to set up birdie opportunities, which Smith capitalized on to take a one-shot lead heading to the final hole.

Smith had a short par putt to seize the title but it slid just wide and Zunic forced the playoff when he made par.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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