Australia

Cameron Smith shoots record-equalling 60 in New Jersey

Australian golfer Cameron Smith has rocketed into the lead at the Northern Trust Open with another record-setting display on the US PGA Tour. 

Smith shattered the course record with an extraordinary 11-under-par 60 at Liberty National in New Jersey to surge into contention for a mega pay day at the $US60 million ($84 million) FedExCup playoffs.

After an incredible round of 11 birdies on Saturday, Smith missed a putt at the last hole to fall centimetres short of shooting only the 12th magical round of 59 in PGA Tour history — Jim Furyk has the only 58.

But Smith did enough in New Jersey to snare a share of the third-round clubhouse lead at 16 under with Spanish world number one Jon Rahm and power into second spot on the projected FedExCup standings.

The winner of the obscenely rich playoffs will pocket a $US15 million ($21 million) bonus.

Smith’s dazzling performance came just two weeks after he tied the PGA tour record for fewest putts in a round with just 18 during a second-round 62 at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St Jude Invitational.

There, too, he missed a birdie attempt, from 22 feet, on the 18th that would have broken the record.

Smith said his “ball striking was definitely a lot better” than it was a day earlier. (

Getty Images: Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR

)

Amazingly, the 28-year-old’s career-best round on Saturday came after he had stormed off the course trailing the leader by seven shots the previous day.

“I left frustrated yesterday. I felt like I hit my driver kind of everywhere and I scrambled really well and got the best out of my game but [I was] mad.

“I got here this morning, the body felt a little bit different and the ball striking was definitely a lot better.”

Smith shrugged off his last-hole missed putt that would have thrust him into golfing’s exclusive “59 club”.

“I just kind of went through what I’d done the rest of the day and that was just a misread. That’s on me,” he said, after his putt dribbled wide.

“I thought it was going to come a little bit off the bunker and it didn’t. It is what it is.”

The final round at Liberty National will be delayed at least a day because of the forecast effects of Hurricane Henri.

AAP


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